Jana Wendt

Jana Wendt (/ˈjɑːnɑː vɛnt/ YAH-nah VENT; born 9 May 1956) is an Australian Gold Logie award-winning television journalist, reporter and writer.

Jana Wendt
Born (1956-05-09) 9 May 1956
Melbourne, Australia
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
OccupationReporter, journalist, writer
Spouse(s)Brendan Ward
ChildrenDaniel Ward

Early life

Wendt was born in Melbourne to Czech parents who emigrated to Australia in 1949; she was educated at the University of Melbourne. Wendt graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Degree with Honours) in 1979.[1]


First starting out as a researcher for the ABC,[2] Wendt's television career began as a news presenter for ATV-10 evening news. In 1982 she then went on to be one of the first reporters on the Australian Nine Network's version of 60 Minutes,[3] as well as filing stories for the American CBS 60 Minutes.

She was host of A Current Affair, also on Nine, until 1993,[4] and host of Australian Dateline on SBS and Witness on Seven. She also did a number of specials for the ABC. She returned to Channel Nine in 2003 to host Sunday.[5]

Departure from Nine Network

Rumours of Wendt's departure from Nine began in June 2006, when the network announced it would merge its Sunday and Business Sunday programs. Leaks to the print media, reportedly from high levels within Nine and described by journalists as "ham-fisted", revealed that the network wanted to replace Wendt with Ellen Fanning. Then CEO Eddie McGuire in particular was accused of trying to "white-ant" Wendt. On 1 September 2006 it was announced that Wendt would leave the Nine Network.[6] News reports suggested she would receive a payout of more than A$2 million in lieu of the remaining two and a half years of her contract.

The absence of Wendt on the Sunday program's relaunch on 3 September 2006 was met with an unprecedented number of complaints that flooded the Nine Network's switchboard.[7]

Wendt was then sacked from her regular "Lunch" column for The Bulletin magazine, due to the association the magazine has with the Nine Network; both had the same parent company, PBL.

On 12 September 2006, just ten days after she left the Nine Network, Wendt agreed to appear on stage at the Seven Network's 50 Years of Television presentation, where she co-presented the News and Current Affairs section with Sydney news presenter Ian Ross, another former Nine Network employee.

Wendt presented the Logies Hall of Fame award to the program 60 Minutes at the 2018 Logies.[8]

Personal life

Wendt married producer Brendan Ward in 1984[9] and they have one son, Daniel.[3]

In 2004, a painting of Wendt by artist Evert Ploeg won the Packing Room Prize at the Archibald Prize.[10][11]


Wendt won the 1992 Gold Logie Award for her role as host of A Current Affair.[12] She was not at the presentation to accept her award, citing commitments to A Current Affair, based in Sydney, while the awards were being presented in Melbourne.

In 1997, she delivered the second Andrew Olle Media Lecture.[13]

Books published

  • A Matter of Principle, Melbourne University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-522-85414-5.
  • Nice Work, Melbourne University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-522-85620-0

See also


  1. "UniMelb Verification of Qualification".
  2. Tony, Wright (17 April 1989). "Jana's current affairs". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926–1995). p. 23. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  3. Angela, Wellington (16 February 1992). "Not the steamroller she used to be". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926–1995). p. 24. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  4. Wallace, Mark (20 October 1992). "Jana Wendt moves out, Willesee moves in". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926–1995). p. 3. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  5. "Wendt back at Nine". Hollywood Reporter. 31 January 2003. p. 10.
  6. Michael Idato: "Jana quits Nine", 1 September 2006, The Sydney Morning Herald
  7. Dyer, Glen (5 September 2006). "Viewers let nine know what they think of the new Sunday". Crikey. Archived from the original on 11 August 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  8. "Logies 2018: 60 Minutes Australia gets Hall of Fame award" by Jonathon Moran and Jackie Epstein, The Courier-Mail, 2 July 2018
  9. "Wendt weds TV man". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926–1995). 10 October 1984. p. 22. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  10. "Jana wins packers' vote". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 March 2004. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  11. Winner: Packing Room Prize 2004, Art Gallery of New South Wales
  12. "Wendt wins Gold Logie". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926–1995). 14 March 1992. p. 1. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  13. Wendt, Jana (15 November 1997). "1997 Andrew Olle Lecture – Jana Wendt". ABC. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
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