Life On The Job


Real People

Newsreader: Nastasia Campanella (1988 - )   (ACU student Anabel Mifsud helped to compile this page)

Nas Campanella
Nas in the News Room

Nastasia [Nas] Campanella is a newsreader for Australian radio station Triple J. She was the first blind newsreader to be employed by the ABC.

“Her ability outweighs her disability.”
Daisy Williams.
(Source:
ABC Open)

Introduction

When Nas was 6 months old a rare abnormality caused her retinas to tear away from her eyes, leaving her able to see shadows and some light, but little else. She was in hospital for two years having numerous operations to try to help her to see.

Nas as a child
Nas as a small child

Nas has a younger brother who also suffered from the same abnormality. Fortunately for him, however, doctors were able to use laser-eye surgery to restore the damage.

In primary school, Nas was diagnosed with a disease: Charcot-Marie-Tooth, after years of struggling to read braille. CMT is a genetic disease which causes a lack of sensitivity in the fingertips, meaning she is unable to read braille. After this discovery, Nas started to learn through listening, using computer programs which translated words on a computer into audio.

Did You Know?

Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease (CMT) is one of the hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies, a group of varied inherited disorders of the peripheral nervous system characterised by progressive loss of muscle tissue and touch sensation across various parts of the body. Currently incurable, this disease is the most commonly inherited neurological disorder, and affects approximately 1 in 2,500 people.

(Source: Wikipedia)

For Nas, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease has the following effects...'It takes a second for my hand to register it's on a kettle that is hot or I will be walking along sand that is really hot but it might take my feet a little while to register.'
(Source: Daily Mail UK)

A lover of music, radio, and writing, Nas decided to pursue a career in journalism at a young age. (Source: Broadsheet)

Education

Nas was sent to St Lucy's School for the Blind Wahroonga, Sydney, but the teachers there encourage her parents to send her to a mainstream school, Sacred Heart.

When Nas was 10 she was diagnosed with CMT. This made a big difference in her life as she wasn't then regarded as lazy when she couldn't read braille. 

Nas was introduced to a software program, JAWS [Job Access With Speech] and could then send and receive emails. Her assistant teacher also introduced her to audio books and this open up a whole new world for Nas.

In Year 7, Nas started at St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill. Here she had to overcome more barriers - cooking, woodwork and art classes,  but with the help of teachers and her fierce independence she was able to participate in these classes.

In Year 9, St Agnes allowed her to volunteer for 2 hours a week for 9 months at the local community radio station. With her friend they hosted their own radio program. She loved this opportunity!

Nas went to Loyola Senior High School, Mount Druitt for Years 11 & 12. Teachers at the school offered extra help on Saturdays and Nas achieved Dux of Loyola with an ATAR of 95.75 which allowed her to go to university to study journalism.  

She attended the University of Technology in Sydney with an average of a Distinction. She graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism.

While at university, Nas has to learn to use a cane for the first time. She also had a full time study load and
worked at a full time paid job to pay for the university. She also volunteered for unpaid internships to  develop an extensive portfolio.

Nas at graduation


Work Experience:

Campanella insists she would still be the same driven personality if she had her sight but admits her impairment has pushed her to be that bit stronger.

'To a certain extent I think fundamentally I'm a pretty determined, enthusiastic, pushy person anyway so I don't think that has really changed because of my vision impairment, she said.

'But I've obviously had a lot more to prove than other people had when they approached employers for a job.'

When Campanella first started looking for work while still at university she was met with a lot of negativity from potential employers. Her tactic was she wouldn't mention in her application that she was visually impaired but would explain her situation if she received a call back.

'The fact that I have a vision impairment is nothing to me - there's no reason why I shouldn't be looked at but it's something that other people have found a bit confronting so it's nice to be able to get people come around to the idea,' she said.
(Source: Daily Mail UK)

Nas experienced many barriers whilst job-seeking due to her visual impairment, however due to her perseverance she was offered a cadetship with the ABC in 2011. She spent her first year doing regional reporting, and news reading in Bega.

In Bombala
Campanella did a 12-month post in in Bombala, in rural NSW, before landing a cadetship at the ABC.
 (Source: Daily Mail UK)

“I guess not a lot of people have met people with disabilities, and not a lot of people are open-minded about what they’re capable of. So I think they were quite taken aback when someone with no sight walking into their office and said ‘I want a job, this is what I can do.’” Nas Campanella. (Source: Broadsheet)

In 2013 Nas joined the Triple J team full-time. Nas produces, writes, sources, and reads the news several times a day.

In May 2020, Nas became the ABC's National Disability Affairs reporter.

National Disability Reporter
In May 2020, Nas became the ABC's National Disability Affairs Reporter
(Source: ABC News 30 November 2020)


Experiences & Opportunities

“I became a journalist because it’s what I love to do but it’s also nice to know I can help break that mould and hopefully get other people with disabilities employed as well” Nas Campanella. (Source: Daily Mail UK)

During a three minute news bulletin, Nas has four streams of audio simultaneously feeding through her headphones:

  • The JAWS speech program, which translates the news story into audio for Nas to repeat

  • Her own voice reading out the news

  • A clock telling her exactly when to start and finish- as news segments are required to be exactly 3 minutes

  • And audio snippets that have been packaged before going on air to be included in a story

One of the hardest parts of her job is dealing with incorrect translations delivered by the electronic voice: “you can opt for a male or female voice, faster or slower but it’s hard because the pronunciation is often dodgy. He often says stuff wrong- such as ‘Wag-a Wag-a’ for Wagga Wagga, or ‘Coe-Barney’ for Cobain. I often stumble on cricketers’ and sportspeople’s names.”  (Source: Broadsheet)

Nas’s studio is equipped with strategically placed Velcro patches-allowing her to operate her own panel.

“I loved listening to it (radio) so I always, kind of, wanted to be on it eventually one day.” Nas Campanella.
(Source: ABC Open)

Nas is a keen traveller, and says her dream job would be to work as a travel writer. In the past Nas has travelled to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, where she went elephant riding, trekking in the jungle, and swimming in natural waterfalls.

Travelling

“Using vision as a form of travel is a narrow way of looking at things. You can describe the food you ate, the kindness of the people, the smells around you, and the feeling of the sand on your feet.” Nas Campanella. (Source: Daily Mail UK)

Nas is now an Advisor to the Travel Industry and has written several articles about her trips.

She also works a a speaker in the education system.

 

Wedding day
Nas married ABC Radio Presenter Tom Oriti on 5 May 2018
(Source: ABC News 30 November 2020)

Wedding day
(Source: Zest)

 

 

 

YouTube: Nas Campanella - System Leadership Day 2016
https://youtu.be/1AcBr78xnFo

 

YouTube: Nastasia Campanella speech
https://youtu.be/g4QEs8WOIro

 

YouTube: Interview with Triple J Newsreader Nas Campanella
https://youtu.be/k2AJkRg_iMY

 

YouTube: @Triple J Blind Cadet
https://youtu.be/vwVSNDtlCzg

 

Did You Know?

JAWS ("Job Access With Speech") is a computer screen reader program for Microsoft Windows that allows blind and visually impaired users to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a refreshable Braille display.

JAWS is produced by the Blind and Low Vision Group of Freedom Scientific, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA.

A July 2015 screen reader user survey by WebAIM, a web accessibility company, found JAWS to be the most popular screen reader worldwide; 30.2% of survey participants used it as a primary screen reader, while 43.7% of participants used it often.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Links

ABC: BTN 2013

BTN

ABC Open: Behind the Voice  Video

ABC Open

 

Daily Mail 15 January 2015

Daily Mail 15 January 2015

Vimeo Video

Video



ABC News 30 November 2020

ABC News 30 November 2020


Activities

Travel and the senses

PrimaryPrimary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability

1. In an interview, Nas stated that she loves to travel, and that visuals only play a small role in the entire travel experience.

Choose an experience you are familiar with, for example a trip to your favourite beach, and write a descriptive piece detailing what your senses (excluding sight) are experiencing.

  • What can you hear?
  • What can you smell?
  • What can you feel?
  • What can you taste?

2. Share your piece with a partner. Would they go to this location based on your description?

 

A 3 Minute News Bulletin  (developed by ACU student Anabel Mifsud)

 MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability

 

1. Go to one of the following sites and select several news stories to be scripted into a 3 minute news bulletin.

ABC - BTN

BTN
ABC Rural News

Rural News
ABC Landline

Landline
ABC Sport

Sport

2. With a partner, create a news bulletin script for exactly 3 minutes. Rehearse and record your news segment and present it to your class.

3. Analysis.

Consider the following questions:

  • Why did you select the stories you did? Was it based off personal interest or deemed importance?

  • Was 3 minutes enough time to read your entire script? How did you shorten it to exactly 3 minutes

  • Compare your experience to that of Nas. Do you think it would have been the same if you had a program like JAWS reading to you as opposed to a script?

4. Try reading your script with your partner reading it to you. What did that feel like?

 

 

 

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