Anna Coren

Friday, August 10, 2007
Anna Coren
Presenter Anna Coren, 31, talks to Good Health & Medicine's Kate Minogue about working in the world's hot spots and coming home.

I'm a journalist first and foremost.
Reporting is one of those things I've always wanted to do. I love meeting new people and telling people's stories — it's always been a passion of mine. So my role at Today Tonight is great because I can combine presenting and reporting — I'm involved in doing stories.

Last year I was appointed US correspondent and I loved it.
It's a great place to live. Americans are very can-do people — their work ethic is inspiring. It's also the centre of the universe in terms of TV and world politics, so to get a taste of that was great. I was based in LA but the first five months I basically lived out of a suitcase, travelling around and just coming back to wash clothes. As well as getting to see a lot of the US, I worked in Europe and spent three weeks reporting from Israel.

Working in a war zone was an eye-opening experience.
We were right on the border of Israel and Lebanon, where the fighting was going on. There were air-raid sirens every day and Katyusha rockets going off — it was an exhilarating and nerve-racking time. You realise you are really alive and it makes you appreciate how lucky we are here. I met so many people who, for them, it was a normal way of life. The locals were like, "if you're going to die, you're going to die".

I came home in December and was given the chance to do Today Tonight.
I was meant to be in the US for two years, but there was a changing of the guard; Naomi [Robson] decided to leave. Taking the role meant cutting my posting short. It was a hard decision because there was still a lot for me to do and learn overseas. But it's not often you're offered [the opportunity] to host a program and also do the interviews. I also missed family and friends, and I thought these opportunities come up, and you grab them when you can.

I had a magical childhood which was spent outdoors.
I grew up in Kenthurst, on the outskirts of Sydney. My childhood was spent riding horses and building cubby houses in the bush. I'm the eldest of four and my siblings are my best friends. I have one sister in London working as an accounts manager for a PR/marketing company; a brother in Perth who works as a project manager for a bank; and a sister in Broome who is studying medicine. Even though we're all over the place, we're a very close-knit family. We speak every other day and no-one gets out of the family Christmas.

Sometimes you have to force yourself not to be consumed by work.
I think when you're new to a job, like I am now, you do throw yourself into work more than you normally would. After nine months to a year you can settle into a role and relax and enjoy it. I try to find balance by exercising — I like to run and I've just started boxing. I also like to spend time with family and friends, and try to squeeze in a movie, but I haven't had much of a chance for that recently.

I'm planning to travel back to Vietnam soon.
I was on holidays there in 2003 when I met a nine-year-old girl called Chang. It had a profound effect on my life. I'm not the most maternal person, but I absolutely fell in love with her. I spent three days experiencing her way of life. She was such a beautiful, kind soul. She taught me so much about appreciating the simple things. We live in such a materialistic world, and yet here was this little girl who lived in a mud hut, slept on a dirt floor, and was so happy. I cried when I left her.

My dream is to one day live on a coastal farm.
I think I'll probably live somewhere like the Byron Bay hinterland and have horses and babies. But that's a long way away — I'm loving my job and there's still lots to do.

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