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Unsurprisingly, people were quick to give then budding journalist Nas Campanella unpaid work.

But as soon as she graduated and wanted to start her career and be paid accordingly, her disability became a disappointing sticking point.

“That was when I encountered really hostile receptions,” she told Vision Australia’s podcast series Career Path.

“So I decided to never disclose my disability in job applications, I wanted to be judged on merit and the skills I had.”

Listen to the full interview in the player below:

Blind since six months old, the now successful national disability affairs reporter for the ABC remembers the way the room would shift when she would turn up for job interviews.

“You could feel the temperature drop and there was tension,” she said.

“People would ask some pretty awful questions like… ‘how the hell can you be a journalist if you can’t see?’.”

Nas Campanella speaking at a podium.
Nas Campanella

Others would say their workplace wouldn’t be safe for her, and rejections would come in thick and fast.

But the ABC was different, she admits.

“They asked all the questions they would ask any other candidate, and there were questions around what do you need to do your job,” she said.

“I think that showed me that was the place I wanted to be at.”

Nas started at the ABC as a cadet in 2011, and ventured into regional reporting then went on to feature heavily on Triple J before landing her current job as national disability affairs reporter.

Working her way up and proving her capabilities, she has been able to pitch some unique ways to redefine how the national broadcaster reported on disability.

Her lived experience made her instantly relatable to community, and the story suggestions just kept flooding in.

How Nas does her job every day:

  1. JAWS screen reader

Nas uses the popular screen reader software both on her desktop computer in the office and on laptop when out on an external job.

  1. Tactile buttons in the studio

Nas can work her way around the editing suite at ABC with the help of a few tactile buttons. The raised bumps and stickers give her a guide to know where she is situated across the suite.

  1. O&M instructor around the office

The ABC is a multi-storey building. An orientation and mobility instructor helped map out the office with Nas to make sure she could navigate around it safely.

Read the latest research on employer attitudes on hiring blind and low vision employees.

Career Path is a Vision Australia limited podcast series featuring stories of working people who are blind or have low vision and employers who champion diversity in the workplace. It aims to provide real and raw stories of what it’s like in the workplace with vision loss, from awkward encounters to flat-out rejections, but also the success stories and tips to get hired.