Opinion

Credit where it’s due – Lee Lin Chin, a newsreader with gravitas and comedy genius

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 1.19.14 PMIn a new column Mumbrella celebrates the best people and work in the industry. Today we salute 20-year SBS veteran Lee Lin Chin, who traverses the serious world of news with a more light-hearted approach.

There aren’t many newsreaders who can successfully make the leap to light entertainment, but Lee Lin Chin can put that feather in her cap.

Not content with being a mainstay on the po-faced SBS World News since 1992, Lee Lin has been engaging and delighting a younger audience with her regular appearances on SBS2’s The Feed.

To be a survivor in the cut-throat TV news world you have to have a steely edge, and Chin clearly has that in abundance, as well as an authority and gravitas that delivers an extra edge to her new bulletins, even if she is only on at weekends now.

SBS may be a niche channel for much of Australia, but for those looking for news beyond our shores it is the go-to destination, thanks in no small part to Chin. And it’s testament to her skills that she is known well beyond the relatively small hard core of her audience.

Indeed she may not be the biggest celebrity, but when 28,000 people like a Facebook page devoted to celebrating your “asymmetrical outfits” something is being done right.

Lee Lin Chin asymmetrical outfits

TV stars are not renowned for having much of a sense of humour about themselves, but Chin clearly revels in her regular slot on SBS2’s The Feed, which now has a dedicated Lee Lin Chin channel on its YouTube page.

These self-parodying appearances in things like The Real Newsreaders of Sydney, Celebrity Chin Wag with Lee Lin Chin and most recently The Lee Lin Chinnel ( a 24-hour rolling news service for SBS), are elevating Chin to cult status, and have opened her up to a whole new audience. She always has a twinkle in the eye.

Some might remember her first viral hit, when she was caught asking “Who is that handsome….” as producers cut back abruptly from a filmed report to the studio, but even then her recovery and pick up were that of a true pro.

But the quote that best sums up Chin have to come from a 2012 profile of her written by TV Tonight, where she said she is still surprised when people recognise her on public transport, adding at the end she won’t be giving up reading the news anytime soon, adding with a smile: “What else can I do? I have no other skills!”

Credit Where it’s Due is all about generating positivity about our fantastic industry. While we welcome positive and constructive comments, anonymous or otherwise, this feature a snark-free zone so please bear that in mind when commenting.

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