Tanya Orman is the channel manager for National Indigenous Television and has a wealth of journalism experience to date. A proud Birri and Guugu Yimidhirr woman from North Queensland, Tanya has a passion for seeing new places and meeting different people, telling their stories in whatever format or platform.

From an early age, Tanya had an interest in news and the world around her. “My Dad always had the news radio on and we always had the latest edition of encyclopaedias to read which help feed my curiosity and love of world affairs.” When Tanya couldn’t see the stories she was being told by her grandfather in mainstream media she decided that she would work toward creating an environment where she saw herself and her family represented.

“The biggest obstacle was belief in myself, and the second was that the jobs weren’t there, there wasn’t all the media outlets that exist today, there was no digital platforms. I remember going to Uni in 1994 and learning how to navigate the ‘world wide web’,” Tanya said.

Despite Tanya’s passion and undeniable drive to become a journalist, she experienced feelings of doubt, unsure about how to get started in this industry. “I didn’t know anyone who lived in cities, my family certainly didn’t, how was I to leave? And I didn’t know anyone who had done it. I didn’t know any journalists, or productions, or any pathways to get there,” Tanya said. “I didn’t have money to get a bus, and it was 2000 kilometres away from home to get a career in this industry.”

She started her career as a freelance journalist for ABC, as well as working with triple J. From here, Tanya got a cadetship with the ABC in 2000. At the end of 2002 she moved to SBS where she worked on the first season of Living Black and for Insight in 2004. A career highlight for Tanya in these early years was gaining mainstream exposure on the issues and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2004 her work steered toward research as a series of reports she produced for SBS on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome gained national recognition. Tanya was awarded the Prime Minister’s National Drug and Alcohol Award for Excellence in Media Reporting.

In 2006, she started a production company, Carbon Media and four years later, at the age of 36, she became one of the youngest television executives in the country when she was offered to the position of NITV Channel Manager. From here she led NITV’s transition into the SBS network and launched it as free to air channel, making it available to 95 per cent of homes around Australia and evolving the once small channel into a business. She has found this experience very rewarding. “I saw NITV come from nothing and I love that I’ve been able to help the channel grow,” she said. “I love how people are so passionate about the content and the channel and I like the fact now there are children entering high school who have never known a life without NITV.” Tanya said. “I want the channel to not only be known by every Australian but I want it to be loved by every Australian. I want the channel to be a celebration of Indigenous experience, and that everyone finds something in it for themselves.”