Canberra’s press gallery rising star Stela Todorovic has left Network 10 after ABC’s Ashleigh Raper was hired to become the troubled channel’s new federal political editor.
The recruitment of the ABC’s NSW state parliament reporter has been hailed as a major coup for the beleaguered station after it spent months trying to replace Peter van Onselen, who stepped down in February.
But Todorovic’s departure is just the latest in an exodus of on-screen talent and backroom workers to leave the TV network over the past year.
Ten’s Canberra office was at the center of an ongoing lawsuit by reporter Tegan George who claimed it was “sexually hostile, degrading and oppressive.”
“The network is a mess,” said an insider. “They hung onto Stela for months as they looked over her shoulder to see who else was available.
“She’s a great reporter with established contacts in Canberra and would have made an excellent political editor for them.”
Stela Todorovic (pictured), reporter for the Canberra Press Gallery, has left Network 10 after ABC’s Ashleigh Raper was brought on to become the troubled channel’s new political editor
The recruitment of Ashleigh Raper, reporter for the NSW state parliament of the ABC (pictured), has been hailed as a major coup for the beleaguered network
It is understood that several applicants were approached for the prestigious job but declined before Raper was tempted to leave the ABC for the commercial network.
But during the lengthy hiring process, Todorovic was sidelined as he also continued to undergo a series of grueling job interviews.
TV insiders say Todorovic was disrespectfully kept as a backup option if Ten couldn’t find a high-profile alternative.
Obviously, she had the backing of Paramount CEO Beverley McGarvey, but the final decision was made last week by news director Martin White.
White chose Raper, 39, who became a high-profile ABC reporter on TV screens during the Covid pandemic after 15 years with the national broadcaster.
“Ashleigh’s track record speaks for itself,” White said Thursday.
“She is a journalist of the highest quality, with a history of major political stories and elections. I’m really happy she’s joining Ten and can’t wait for her to get started.’
Sydney-born Raper, who starts Ten next month, said she was thrilled to move to federal parliament in Canberra.
She began her career in regional radio coverage for ABC Orange and ABC Newcastle, before returning to Sydney to continue her career in radio as a newsreader for Triple J and later to TV.
“It’s a dream come true to go to the country’s capital and report on politics at a time when the issues affect people more than ever,” she said on Thursday.
“I can’t wait to join Network 10 and the team in Canberra.”
Ashleigh Raper replaces Peter van Onselen (pictured) – who was at the center of reporter Tegan George’s accusations – after he left the network in February
Stela Todorovic (pictured)’s work has been praised by her bosses at Ten, who paid tribute to her impact over the past three years in broadcasting
Raper replaces van Onselen, who was at the center of George’s allegations after he quit in February, and who has since expressed concerns about Ten’s viability.
He is now being sued by Ten over a recent column in The Australian for breaching a ‘non-disparagement’ clause in his exit deal with the broadcaster.
He called the channel the “minnow of Australian commercial television” and said parent company Paramount’s falling share price could spell “disaster” for Ten.
The Project stars Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar have all recently left the TV station, along with Dr. Chris Brown, while key news executives have also left in the back room.
The project is currently at the center of controversy and legal action due to the explosive interview with Brittany Higgins, which later saw Lisa Wilkinson quit the show.
On Thursday, Todorovic confirmed that she too is now leaving, adding: “Network 10 has made its decision and now it makes sense for me to consider better options outside the network.”
Her work was praised by her bosses at Ten, who paid tribute to her impact over the past three years in broadcasting.
“Stela is a dedicated and respected political reporter who works in Network 10’s Canberra Bureau,” said a spokesman.
Over the past three years, Stela has reported on the big stories coming out of Canberra, participated in the campaign trail for the 2022 federal election and spearheaded the Women of The House podcast series for Network 10.
“We wish Stela all the best.”