11,000 homeless as viewers ask where are the brekkie shows?

Both Sunrise and Today had to resort to Live crosses to Queensland and New South Wales towns devastated by Cyclone Debbie this morning, from their bases in Hawaii and Bowral.

Last week both announced tours -of the US and Australian East Coast- before Debbie had hit landfall and unleashed her fury.

Now more than 11,000 people are homeless in NSW, with Lismore struggling from its worst flood in 43 years and Rockhampton bracing for more.

Meanwhile Today was celebrating the wedding of Sylvia Jeffreys and Peter Stefanovic in the Southern NSW highlands whilst Sunrise was greeted by hula dancers at a hotel in Waikiki.

Both shows covered the floods with reporters in Live crosses, but it marks a stark contrast to the devastation of Cyclone Yasi in 2011 when presenters were literally knee-deep in flood waters.

Broadcasting from elsewhere has seen both shows come under fire in social media comments. Striking the right balance is a constant challenge. In the past others have labelled such coverage “disaster porn.” Damned if you do / don’t…?

With Seven on the ground in the US, Nine show could have also seized the moment by broadcasting from Debbie’s trail, but its Bowral broadcast was piggybacking off the back of its colleagues wedding.

Today looking back on the wedding of its presenters, including with on-air promos, also raises the question of whether private lives are now part of the wider narrative.

Previously Nine has declined comments on the marriage of Karl Stefanovic yet that of Peter Stefanovic is promoted for ratings and to plug the various companies involved in the wedding dress, suits, jewellery and venue, raising questions about contra deals.

“Sylvia’s incredibly stunning dress, custom designed by the very talented Rebecca Vallance. That’s one of Sylvia’s far and away favourite designers, and the bridesmaids’ dresses were also by Rebecca. Meanwhile Pete looked dashing in an Armani suit. The rings were designed by the fabulous Nader Jewellers and it all took place on an incredible property, right here in the NSW Southern Highlands at Kangaroo Valley. We were lucky enough to stay with them,” the show told its viewers.

A Nine spokesperson said, “There were no deals done for the location, services provided for the wedding or anything else, for inclusion in the coverage on the Today show.

“That coverage was in response to media coverage of the events and then feedback from our viewers who wanted to know more.

“Sylvia and Peter consciously chose to do no commercial deals around their wedding.”

The homeless 11,000 probably missed the names of the gown designers or the finer points of hula dancing. And for shows that pride themselves on grassroots dialogue and reacting to breaking news, this week probably isn’t their finest moment. At least, not according to some angry viewers.

Tomorrow Today is at Burleigh Heads while Sunrise is in San Francisco.


  1. The nine spokesman says no deals were done yet Karl stefanovic clealry said this week that the stefanovics pay for nothing .so who is lying clealry channel nine spokesman as for the coverage of the disasters this week both sunrise and today fisk d miserably with their coverage they should have both been on the ground yesterday and Monday the devastation is enormous and deserved better coverage both shows are useless when it comes to covering real news as was evident this morning with the Russia terrorist attacks in th subway in st Petersburg their coverage was virtually non existent not even their lead story yet the London terrorist attack was wall to wall coverage.pathetic shows .

  2. carolemorrissey

    Oh for God’s sake, they were both over there all last week during the worst of it. They may have just announced these trips the week before, but it had probably been planned months before. They wouldn’t have known when they planned the trips a cyclone would hit the week before.

  3. Last week during the cyclone people were complaining that the reporters were out in the cyclone reporting on it. This week people are complaining that they’re not there. You just can’t win.

  4. Comments which appear here and on social media criticizing “Today” and “Sunrise” is a bit harsh. I suspect both programs had these telecasts booked weeks, if not months, in advance. Could they have been cancelled? Possibly. But does it really matter? Both programs are still reporting on the devastation that is occurring in New South Wales and Queensland. Their News programs throughout the day and night are still giving us updates. They still have reporters on the ground with “Live” crosses. Are those being critical expecting “Today” and “Sunrise” to remain camped in devastation, permanently? Guess what? Life goes on. Those left behind knuckle down and get on with it, at least that’s what I thought Aussies did.

      • As is grammar and punctuation, e.g. “it’s”, use of Capital letters. I often have to read posts here and elsewhere three times to work out what is being said. No full stops and wrong words used – there/their/theyre meaning their, there, they’re.

  5. thedirtydigger

    Today has blown a huge opportunity today. They should have re-located to the scene of the flooding disaster yesterday. There is no excuse. None whatsoever… To dribble on about the C grade wedding of some alleged “celebrity” news readers ? Really ?
    Who is running Channel Nine. Why was not Hugh Marks on the phone to whoever ” runs ” ( and I use the term extremely loosely ) Today over the weekend and told them where to broadcast from first thing this morning? The biggest breaking news story of 2017 and they are in Bowral.
    Oh , perhaps Hugh doesn’t have a clue either. Kerry Packer and Sam Chisholm and David Leckie would have.
    “Special ” people and their silly little privileged weddings versus real Australian drama, and lives lost in the tragedy. What part of ” Don’t you get it ” don’t they get ? Disgraceful. And as for Sunrise…well have a great holiday guys, hope…

    • “There is no excuse. None whatsoever”…… are u serious? Isn’t there enough bad news in the world? And as if they aren’t going to cover the wedding of 2 of their cast members.
      What really would they have added by moving the show to the devestation? Apart from the logistics, they probably would have caused more issues for the areas affected. They will be in QLD tomorrow cut them some slack….
      At least they are showing off this country and not another one.
      In Sunrise’s defence they can’t predict the weather and wouldn’t have been easy to scrap the week of shows and relocate. It’s just bad timing all round. But maybe what this country needs is a bit of home support so they might think about showing off the tourism in Australia in the future, instead of going on a junket to a foreign country.

  6. Ahhh the viewer… right in every situation…. both shows probably had this planned weeks in advance… could they have postponed it?… what could they have added by being in these areas ?. Like you said David… damned in either scenario

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