Gallery: Day of Drama

ssd4An ordinary Monday morning, barely a week out from Christmas, turned into the biggest news day of the year as a gunman held cafe patrons hostage in Martin Place in Sydney.

Australian networks interrupted broadcasting schedule for rolling coverage all day and into the evening, stretching news crews to the limit as Australians turned to their television screens.

The Lindt cafe opposite Seven’s Martin Place base saw The Morning Show with Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies covering the unfolding event Live for 40 minutes before police evacuated Seven’s building.

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The proximity to Seven’s studio, as well as bank and government buildings, was frequently mentioned as a likely factor in the choice of site.

But as the home of Seven News, the crisis threw into disarray their normal ability to cover major breaking news. But while Seven’s crews hit the street as the city began to grasp what was taking place, a makeshift news centre was set up in the board room at Seven’s Jones Bay headquarters.

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Seven juggled their coverage by leaning upon its Melbourne newsroom with Nick Etchells anchoring much of the day’s coverage. Across the day reporters included Ann Sanders, Melissa Doyle, Chris Reason and Mark Riley. As the drama wore on deep into the night Seven’s Perth crew took charge of presentation, anchored by Susannah Carr.

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Seven was matched in their coverage by Nine, TEN, ABC and SKY News -all of which stayed on air across the day with rolling coverage.

Studio 10 remained on air for a marathon 8.5 hours led by Sarah Harris, Joe Hildebrand, Ita Buttrose, with Hugh Riminton, Sandra Sully and former NSW premier Kristina Keneally. Following an extended TEN News was a Project special and more rolling coverage with Riminton and Sully thereafter.

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Nine’s coverage stretched across the day and into the night including an extended edition of A Current Affair, with Tracy Grimshaw breaking into her holidays, and Nine abandoning its evening schedule with Wendy Kingston as anchor.

Many journos and crews put in marathon hours yesterday under challenging conditions where teamwork was the key.

International coverage came via Al Jazeera, BBC and CNN.

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But providing wall to wall coverage with no clear finish line in sight also meant having to fill hours of broadcast time with speculation, recapping, press conferences, opinion and interviews with experts in hostage situations, psychology and the Muslim community.

Sometimes the language was quick to imply conclusions other than those still being avoided by Police.

As some hostages even contacted media, some chose to report the details while others observed police requests to keep the details undisclosed.

After 2am the crisis reached a fatal crescendo, ending a marathon day of Live broadcasting. This morning Sunrise was reporting on location, outside the exclusion zone.

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Networks will now need to amend upcoming schedules as a result of rolling coverage. Today’s ratings results will not resemble any of the programming that went out yesterday. Coincidentally, some of the programmes scheduled included Nabbed, Person of Interest and Homeland.

Sadly there was nothing fictional about what unfolded in the real world.

53 Comments:

  1. I thought Tens coverage was excellent. Sarah Harris Joe Hildebrand Sandra Sully Riminton and Ita all did very very well. Outstanding actually.
    Sully on the evening news was excellent – it’s good to see her own that space.
    She then hosted the nighttime coverage too with Riminton giving some good insights.

  2. I agree about 7’s ‘watermark’ – it was tacky, over the top, and just really showed the ‘we want to have the best footage’ mentality of the news channels. Surely with an event like this, the whole news channel wars could have been stopped for a day and just let the footage go without logos. Particularly cringeworthy when that footage is shown overseas. Sorry 7 – there was no need for it and you really just turned off a viewer forever.

  3. TT33 – you make a really interesting point about whether it is actually in the public interest to offer continuous live coverage of such events.

    I think it’s one of those things where either way networks would be criticised. From what little I’ve seen though it seems the Australian broadcasters largely got the right tone.

  4. Seeing the excellence of Sandra Sully and Hugh Rimington yesterday reminded me how much I miss the Late news.
    I can still vividly remember Sandra taking us all through 9/11 with compassion and true style, and the only one live for hours! Ten can do news really well, dump the high paid exes who are useless and bring back quality news! And how about a national vehicle for Sandra, I never see her here in Brisbane.

  5. Demands were made public however, it was clearly stated by Riminton at the beginning of the 7:30pm broadcast that police had not requested they not be made public. Which goes back to my initial post, clear protocals for media need to be developed and adhered to in such situations. The use of 7’s cameras was integral to the operation. Chris Reason tweeting details, however, was not and could have been disasterous.

    The early coverage was an absolute free for all with inexperienced reporters making outlandish statements and speculations.

  6. @David In relation to Ten not being cautious… this is my understanding of it:

    In the 6-6:30 block Sandra Sully described how the call was made directly to Ten with Police simultaneously, and was confirmed by the police that they were indeed hostages.

    She also emphasised how Ten News takes the situation very seriously and does not take the revelations lightly, saying how these details were revealed in particular due to the hostages that did phone Ten Sydney pleading for Ten and Police forces to release the information, stating that they were in fear of their lives.

    I suppose NSW Police later requested them not to repeat the details that Ten obtained on the call? Or they didn’t follow it; not quite sure.

  7. Was very impressed with Hugh Riminton last night. He has to be the best live broadcasting newsman in the country. Hugh did say that he did not agree with Tens decision to broadcast the demands but said Ten were never told not to broadcast them.

  8. You could see that huge 7 News logo all over footage on CNN, Fox news, Al Jazeera, etc – pretty well anywhere around the world where it aired.

    Tonight there is a terror attack in Pakistan – the local news footage pictures from Pakistan have the huge watermarks as well. Rolling on CNN & BBC now…

  9. Whether or not TEN was cautious but they did a tremendous job at broadcasting rolling coverage whether it was yesterday or today. For a network to have deep cuts back in late May which had cut 150 staff from the news department. TEN managed to put on air 14 hours of coverage yesterday and 7 hours today. Matt Doran was with the network for over 24 hours since the siege started and to those all other presenters whether it is Hugh Riminton, Sandra Sully, Sarah Harris, Joe Hildebrand, Kristina, Ita Lachlan Kennedy, Amanda Hart, Joe Hill, Dan Sutton and that other guy were great.

  10. Was interesting seeing how the delayed ‘live’ telecasts of The Morning Show, Mornings and Studio 10 covered this in Brisbane, since we get these programs served an hour later.

    I saw a tweet from Ch9 News saying a armed holdup at a cafe in Martin Place then 2GB via streaming confirmed it was a hostage situation.

    At that point none on the local stations in Brisbane had any news, and would have to wait an hour to see it happen on The Morning Show, but shortly they switched to a live feed and dumped that hour of programming. A few minutes later Channel 9 did the same with News24 now onboard (using Ch7s vision although)

    Channel 10 took 30-40 minutes to switch to a live feed, then about after an hour ABC finally caught up with a live feed.

    All in all it was surprising seeing Channel 10 dedicate such attention to a news event (even cancelling the Bold and the Beautiful is…

  11. You have to remember that channel 7 were evacuated from their premises so had to make alternate arrangements to broadcast everything, think it would have been mayhem for them so they were at a disadvantage all along, but still did a good job and tonight with all the new footage they were able to show once they were back in their building was excellent.

  12. The reason why Seven put their watermark on footage is because Ten and ABC were cropping and rebroadcasting it.

    Despite challenges 7 ran a great coverage as did Nine and Sky. The footage of the police storming the cafe at 1:30am this morning was extremely well shot and compelling TV.

  13. @David/trustno1
    Eleven had King of Queens on at 6pm instead of Family Feud, whilst One had IFISH on. I wondered that myself last night at 6pm, that was what was on in Hobart anyway.

  14. Very sad situation indeed !
    I find it surprising Channel Ten ran Homeland here in Brisbane (about terrorism) with what was happening.
    I haven’t seen a lot of coverage today, but where the two people killed, shot by Monis or caught in cross fire from the Police?

  15. First and foremost, condolences to the innocent souls who lost their lives and their families.

    Media wise, many lessons need to be learnt. The sensationalism and speculation by some was alarming. Huge watermarks used by 7 were inappropriate and Chris Reason using his access to 7 studios to live tweet sensitive information was concerning. Clear media guidelines need to be formulated to ensure reporters don’t create hysteria and interfere with police operations.

    @Trav never did Ten say 50 hostages were being held. Seven and Nine did. Having watched the coverage all day, Ten were by far the most cautious when it came to speculation.

  16. @ harrypotter1994 ah thanks Susannah Carr that is her, could see she had a lot of experience and a face full of character although after all these years apparently she started in 1985 never seen her before here in the east coast. At 62 she would have to be the oldest female newsreader in the country.

  17. @cazz81: There’s a difference between discussing coverage of the event, and discussing who the winning/losing networks & presenters were.

    While I won’t claim to speak for David I note he was fairly careful to outline the coverage and talk about the good and bad points, while avoiding the “my favourite band”-style fluff…

  18. @JJ The older woman you would be talking about at 2am is Susannah Carr, one of the long running news anchors on 7 News Perth. They chose Perth to run the news at this time being 3 hours behind it was a bit more of a reasonable time i’d say

  19. I was out in the morning…found out from my US chat site around midday….
    I checked out all channels…and found TEN the best…Sandra Sully…Hugh Rimminton pulled a marathon ’til 10.30PM…as did Matt Doran out in the field…that young man deserved a medal…..
    The only thing…nothing when it all came to a head…they were running an infomercial…after such great coverage…
    Sevens watermark…just could not see anything really….so I went to ABC24…who although the picture was excellent…they were right on it…were somewhat slow at catching up on info..

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