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National Indigenous Television (NITV) has announced the appointment of two senior Indigenous leaders to key roles overseeing the commissioning of content and channel operations, with Marissa McDowell and Rhanna Collins stepping into new roles within the team.

Marissa McDowell, a proud Wiradjuri woman, has been appointed Head of Commissions for NITV. She joined NITV as Commissioning Editor in early 2021, and has recently been acting as the head of the commissioning team. She will manage NITV's distinctive and diverse content slate including documentaries, drama, entertainment and children's programs, reflecting, exploring and celebrating First Nations stories.

Her appointment comes as NITV prepares to deliver its biggest ever original commissioned content line-up over the year ahead, including the latest ground-breaking children's show, Barrumbi Kids, currently being screened in communities across the country ahead of a broadcast premiere on NITV on 18 November. During her time with NITV, Marissa has been overseeing the delivery and development of a wide range of NITV projects, including recent documentaries Black Empire, Sistas in Mining, and Un-Locked, part of the Curious Australia initiative, and documentary series, Our Law.

Rhanna Collins, a proud palawa woman who first joined NITV in 2014, takes on a new position in NITV's leadership team as Head of Business and Operations. She will play a key role in coordinating key operational activities for the channel including, supporting the continued growth and evolution of NITV.

Collins steps into the position after most recently leading NITV news and current affairs where she oversaw daily news output and weekly current affairs show, The Point. She led the team during a period which included the COVID-19 pandemic, when the importance of the trusted national news service NITV provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities was amplified. She also oversaw the launch of Australia's first all-Indigenous breakfast TV show, Big Mob Brekky, as part of NAIDOC Week in 2020, and which has continued to be a highlight of the SBS network's NAIDOC celebrations.

General Manager of NITV, Peter Noble, a Girramay and Bandjin man, said: At NITV we proudly champion Indigenous excellence on and off the screen, I'm thrilled to have Marissa and Rhanna stepping up into these critical positions that are central to NITV's ongoing success.

NITV is going from strength to strength, delivering outstanding programming and growing audiences. We're reaching more Australians than ever with multiplatform content that champions First Nations voices, and the coming year will see us share our strongest ever collection of original content - our stories, in our hands, shared with everyone. It comes as we prepare to mark a major milestone; on 12 December, we'll reach a decade of NITV being available free-to-air and to every Australian, as part of the SBS network. I look forward to working closely with Marissa, Rhanna and the rest of the NITV team as we deliver even more for our communities, and all Australians.

McDowell and Collins commence in their new roles immediately.

For a PDF version of this media release, click here.

About Marissa McDowell, Head of Commissions, NITV

Marissa McDowell is a Wiradjuri woman, born in Cowra, NSW. She joined NITV in March, 2021 as Commissioning Editor, working on the development and delivery of diverse First Nations stories.

Throughout her career, she has worked with First Nations communities telling their stories through documentary film making, photography and writing. Her documentaries have been screened on SBS/NITV, poetry published through USMOB Writing and photographs displayed at PhotoAcces and the Sydney Living Museum.

She has a Master of Arts Screen Business and Leadership from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) a Bachelor of Arts Honours from the University of Canberra (UC) and is currently undertaking her Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage at Charles Sturt University.

About Rhanna Collins, Head of Business Operations, NITV

Rhanna Collins is a proud palawa Tasmanian Aboriginal woman. She has been in the Head of Indigenous News and Current Affairs role for the past four years working in the business and operations and creative teams prior to that at NITV. She came to NITV via Foxtel, The Weather Channel and Sky News. Rhanna is on the board of R U OK Day and the Indigenous Advisory Committee and is passionate about suicide prevention and mental health in First Nations communities.
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