Scott Bevan says there's no place like home

Scott Bevan says there's no place like home

Television journalist Scott Bevan has a lot more time on his hands these days.

The former Novocastrian and Newcastle Herald reporter is back in Australia after two years as the ABC’s correspondent in Moscow and has a new job at ABC 24, the national broadcaster’s 24-hour news channel.

People might think he and wife Jo would be run off their feet.

But no longer do the couple have to dress their twin boys in five layers of clothing to keep out a Moscow winter.

‘‘Five layers and a little suit. It used to take 20 minutes to get them dressed,’’ Bevan, 45, said.

‘‘I have a lot more spare time, the work-life balance is better and I don’t have to think 24/7 what’s happening in my area.

‘‘Russia is a big country.’’

As well as changing hemisphere and cultures, Bevan has made the move from reporting the news and current affairs to presenting it.

He hosts the 7pm news then The World, an hour of reports from the ABC’s international correspondents before more news at 10pm then 11pm.

From the tension and unpredictability of finding the news and interpreting international events for an Australian audience, Bevan is now responsible for showcasing his colleagues’ endeavours.

It is a very different experience from life as Bevan has known it for the past two years.

Bevan said journalism was story-telling.

‘‘I will miss that side of the business,’’ he said.

‘‘But I would like to think I won’t be fettered to the desk.

‘‘I hope my skills and desires will still have a place and still be used.

With a wealth of reporting behind him, Bevan said he was ready for a new way of telling stories.

‘‘Presenting allows me to learn new skills and tell stories in a different way,’’ he said.

‘‘It suits my world view.’’

Bevan said there were days in broadcast journalism when a reporter simply couldn’t believe how lucky they were.

One of those experiences was the day he met an American astronaut in Kazakhstan who was working with the Russians on the International Space Station.

Bevan said he recently travelled to Houston to follow up on his American friend and he found him preparing for one of the United States’ final shuttle flights.

The former correspondent started a cadetship with the Newcastle Herald in 1984 and covered everything from shipping to the Topics column.

He’d studied Japanese at university and wanted to use his language skills, so in 1989 he moved to Tokyo for 15 months.

Bevan started at the ABC in 2005 after stints with the Nine Network’s news and current affairs.

Among the major events he reported for the national broadcaster were the East Timor crisis in 1999-2000, the Australian Embassy bombing in Jakarta on September 9, 2004, and the Boxing Day tsunami in Banda Aceh later that year.

He has filled the shoes of senior journalist/presenters at the ABC’s The 7.30 Report, produced for Australian Story, presented on ABC Local Radio and is the author of two plays and two books, including Battle Lines: Australian Artists At War.

Bevan said he felt ‘‘drained’’ after his time in Moscow.

‘‘It was an extraordinary two years.’’

The family had three months in New York before heading back to Australia.

‘‘It was such a totally different rhythm and allowed me to open my head to what’s next,’’ he said.

‘‘Like most returning correspondents it’s ‘what’s now?’

‘‘I had no guaranteed job at ABC 24 and I wondered what it might hold for me.’’

The twins, now 3, had been taken to the Russian capital as babies, Bevan said.

‘‘It was a family decision as much as a professional decision.’’

And it was a family decision to return to the presenter’s desk rather than opting for another reporting position.

‘‘The kids were a huge factor.’’

Bevan said his lasting memories of Russia were the ‘‘warm and beautiful’’ Muscovites, who did not live up to their hard and ruthless reputation and living on Kutuzovsky Prospekt, an important road in the Russian capital.

Bevan described this boulevard as a ‘‘channel of history’’, a thoroughfare on which Napoleon entered Moscow in 1812.

His refreshed impressions of home are the clear air, the unmistakable light of coastal Australia and the scent of the native forests around Wangi Wangi.

As soon as the couple returned to Australia they drove to Wangi to spend time before settling back into Sydney.

‘‘On Kutuzovsky Prospekt we always had to keep our windows shut.’’

Not in Wangi Wangi or Sydney, where windows in the Bevan household will always be open to their world.