Natalie Barr broadcasts from Rockhampton, after US trip cut short.

Sunrise news presenter Natalie Barr had a shortened US trip with Sunrise after returning home to cover flood disaster for Seven.

After appearing in only the first of the show’s Mystery Tour stops in Waikiki, today she was in Rockhampton to cover emergencies on the ground, having to forgo other stops including San Francisco and Las Vegas.

The late change followed viewer feedback that breakfast TV shows were too focussed on weddings and US trips while disaster from Cyclone Debbie was still unfolding. Flooding in Rockhampton wasn’t forecast until Sunday night, by which time Sunrise was already on the ground in the US.

TV Tonight understands execs were quick to react to the negative feedback, prompting Barr’s return.

Meanwhile Today hosts were live from Strahan, Tasmania this morning but had reporter Jessica Millward in Rockhampton.

Yesterday when Today was at Burleigh Heads (291,000) it was beaten in the ratings by Sunrise in San Francisco (337,000). It will be on the Sunshine Coast on Friday.


  1. Didn’t Seven already have lots of news resources focused on the disaster? Surely they could have just crossed to a reporter already in the area.

    …or does news need celebrity to be credible now?

    • They already had live crosses, as I noted earlier. But a fair few viewers were questioning if this was the time to be in America or devoting screen time to weddings and let fly on social media. This of course follows contrasting criticism that took aim for reporters being out in the elements. So there is an element of damned if you do / don’t. Remember that breakfast shows trade a lot on their direct dialogue with their viewers and on being quick to react to breaking news. Seems they decided to change tack after the feedback. A lot of it is about perception.

  2. I don’t like it when Sunrise do these rushed trips. Awful to watch as the the time delays when they do interviews back to Australia are awkward. Nat should of stayed in the U.S as 7 have great Brisbane reporters. By the way what’s happened to Michelle Tapper. Have not seen her for a while. She is a star.

  3. I remember back in 2010 there was a mining disaster in NZ at the same time they were going to Hawaii and Kochie was in NZ covering it while the rest of the team were in Hawaii. I think he ended up joining them later in the week if my memory is correct. Nat must’ve drawn the short straw.

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