Date of Birth: 5th August, 1978
Where do you live? I live in Xemxija, but I’m from Mellieħa
Status: It’s complicated…
Star Sign: Leo and proud!
Main occupation: Journalist / Mother – two full-time jobs
Media-related occupation: Journalist/News presenter
Antonia Micallef describes herself as a working mother who is continuously juggling two extremely demanding jobs: motherhood and journalism. She has a six-year-old son, Miguel who demands her full attention but she loves it. She is also a journalist with PBS Ltd. – the national broadcasting service.
“I started working full-time for TVM ten years ago as a broadcast journalist and for the past year I have been producing stories almost exclusively for the company’s website tvm.com.mt and I love that too. Working on web gives me the much desired flexibility to work from wherever I am, including from home, which is a great blessing when one wants to maintain a career and raise children,” explained Antonia.
Tell us about your journey to become a journalist and a newscaster.
The itch to work in a media-related field started during my late teenage years. I wanted to pass my ‘A’ level exams to go to university to read a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. I didn’t know which media-related field I liked the most, until my second year at university.
During the first semester, I went on an exchange programme for five months to North Dakota State University, U.S.A, one that specialises in journalism studies and almost all the credits I studied there were journalism-related. That’s when I decided that I wanted to be a journalist.
During my third year at university, two of my lecturers: Fr Joe Borg and the late Joe Mercieca, embarked on an apprentice programme to give us students first-hand experience in journalism. Together with six other students, I started working on part-time basis at PBS Ltd. I loved it.
When I finished my studies at university, I asked PBS Ltd. for a full-time job and I got a ‘No way’ answer, because of the major restructuring process that was about to take place in the company.
So, I looked elsewhere and I started working for Media.link Communications Ltd. helping in the production of various current affairs programmes and in the newsroom. I spent two years working there.
During my first year there, Malta went through two campaigns: one regarding a referendum on Malta’s accession in the European Union, followed by a general election. During the second year, there were the first European Parliament elections. I gained a lot of experience during this working experience.
At the time, I was also reading for a Masters Degree in Journalism and Integrating Marketing Communications on a part-time basis. When I look back on this particular period I always ask myself – how did I manage? Till this day, I have never managed to answer that one.
When I finished my Masters Degree, there was a call for application for full-time journalists with PBS Ltd. I applied and in October 2004, I was one of five newly recruited journalists. We used to be three journalists and a co-ordinator in each shift. A few months later, I was given the opportunity to start presenting the news, as well, which I enjoy doing because I love being the person who tells the audience what has been happening.
Most of the time, the news is what people want to know about and how they are going to be affected by it. Nowadays, since I work most of the time on tvm.com.mt, presenting the news gives me the chance to keep in touch with the television audience, especially those who are not tvm.com.mt followers, yet.
Credit: Dominick Aquilina
What role does technology play in your life?
Definitely a big role. Nowadays, my main occupation depends on technology. If my home laptop breaks down or my Wi-Fi connection goes berserk, I cannot be productive. If my iPhone disintegrates, I’m suddenly lost and alone.
Without technology I’ll find myself in trouble with various entities because I will not be able to pay any bills! However, when I’m on holiday or I simply want to take a break I can switch off totally … and I’m fine with that. Besides, I still use a traditional diary in which I write all my and Miguel’s appointments. And I still prefer reading from books (for instance, lately I bought a couple of books by Ayn Rand).
What percentage of your time do you spend shopping?
If you mean shopping for groceries that amounts to the largest percentage from my overall shopping percentage! I shop for almost everything else online: be it shoes or clothes for myself and for Miguel, books, gadgets, etc… I rarely go shopping.
Is fashion an important part of your life, and why?
Not really. I have a style which I like and don’t really care if it’s super fashionable or not. I tend to buy shoes, clothes and accessories that are classical and as far as I know, anything classical is timeless. When it comes to my image when I’m presenting the news, my sponsors and the company’s image consultant take care of that.
What is your most treasured possession, and why?
He’s not a possession but he is what I treasure most in my life – my son, Miguel. Everything I do, I do it to make sure he gets further in life than I did and for him to be happy. I believe happiness is the key to success in everything else in life.
I treasure my career a lot because I have worked hard for it, it’s what I wanted to do and to this day, I look forward to going to work.
When it comes to material things, my apartment is very important to me because it’s exactly what I call home. I also like the two original works of art that I own: a painting by Philip Chircop and a sculpture by Chris Ebejer. They both mean something to me.
How do you normally relax when it all gets too much?
I like to go for long walks in the countryside and going to events which I can enjoy on my own, such as a theatre production or a classical music concert. Once a week, I’m also taking the bus to go to work, so instead of feeling I’m wasting time stuck in traffic with my car, I’m using the time while on the bus to read. Because I started doing the above quite often, it hardly ever gets too much, anymore.
I have learnt that one has to occasionally be selfish and sometimes putting yourself first is a must in order to cope with the daily stressful lives we live.
Oh… and that yearly vacation is another must and I am already looking forward to it!
Credit: Owen Galea