In 2013, Melissa Doyle left Sunrise and returned to her newsroom roots.
It was a move that would lead her to one of the biggest days of her career.
On December 15, 2014, Doyle was supposed to be reading the 6pm news on Channel Seven.
Instead, she found herself being evacuated from the network’s Martin Place headquarters as a lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, took hold of the Lindt Cafe across the road.
Doyle then had to anchor the network’s news coverage as the siege situation unfolded.
The 48-year-old told Jordan Baker at Stellar, that was the day everything she’d learnt over her long media career fell into place and she felt an enormous responsibility to get it right.
“I remember thinking that the families of those inside might be watching this. The gunman, for all I knew, could have a monitor on and could be watching. My kids were at home, and everyone else’s families,” she explained to the publication.
“There’s that thought that you have to tell people what’s happening, but you can’t alarm them, you can’t draw conclusions because it’s too early. You can’t sensationalise anything because it is frightening enough as it is. I think that was the starkest moment of being really aware of our responsibility in the media to get it right.”
And she did get it right.
Funnily enough, in an interview with Nova’s In her Words podcast, Doyle said she was once told by a news director at Channel Seven she did not have what it takes to be a network star.
“You just don’t have it,” her boss once said to her. “You don’t have the looks, you don’t have the voice, just stick to being an on-the-road journalist and be happy with that.”
Doyle, of course, went on to land one of the most coveted roles in the industry, hosting Sunrise with David Koch from 2002 until 2013.
Speaking to Deborah Hutton in an interview for her Balance video channel, Doyle said she knew from a young age she wanted to be a journalist.
“I was lucky, I was one of those kids who just knew what they wanted to do. I wanted to be a journalist. So I took myself off to the Manly Daily for work experience and then I went to 2GB and did the midnight to dawn shift. And this was when I was 14 or 15.
“And this was at a time when they used to say, well, ‘we don’t take work experience kids’. And I would say, ‘well I’ll be the coffee girl, just have me, I’ll do whatever’ – I just wanted to hang around newsrooms.”
In an interview with the Herald Sun last year, Doyle admitted constant speculation over her career – and most notably what led to her leaving Sunrise – is difficult to grapple with when you intend to maintain a dignified silence.
“I’ve always been that person who would much rather have my work speak for me. If I’m doing that now and people are noticing, then great… professionally I couldn’t be happier.”