An ABC era has come to an end with the departure, after almost 12 years, of 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales.
Although not always popular with some ABC Friends, it must be acknowledged that Sales made the programme her own, and is known in the industry for being “unflappable.”
Unlike the previous 7.30 host, Kerry O’Brien, Sales was forced to contend with the hostile audience feedback on social media, much of which was gender-based and quite often overwhelming.
What many viewers don’t appreciate is that she had to juggle this demanding role with being a single mother of two boys.
In 2015 she opened up about a potentially fatal medical emergency she suffered during the birth of her second son.
The incident prompted her to write her third book, Any Ordinary Day, which won the Walkley best non-fiction book award in 2019 — the year she was also appointed as a member of the Order of Australia.
Leigh Sales recently recorded a very personal podcast interview with Mia Freedman.
Sales joined the ABC in Brisbane in 1994 after a brief stint at Channel Nine but she soon moved to the then headquarters at Gore Hill in Sydney as national arts correspondent.
Her meteoric rise continued and by 2001 she found herself reporting from the ABC’s US bureau in Washington DC.
She returned to Australia in 2006 to become National Security Correspondent before being promoted to Lateline co-host in June 2008.
On her last day, Sales posted what friends described as a typically “daggy” video of herself with a coffee and donut.
Sales has told reporters that she has no idea what she will do in the future, but that she’ll initially be taking six months long service leave so as to spend time with her sons.
She has ruled out moving to a commercial network and looks forward to future work at the ABC.
If you missed it, 7.30 broadcast a special tribute to Leigh Sales on her last day: