Last week, while an intern with Channel Nine’s Extra Program, I witnessed the shock depature of Extra host Rick Burnett after 15 years in the chair.
I thought things couldn’t get any bigger, until yesterday 4th September 2006 – a day Australians will never forget.
Yes – I was in the National Nine Newsroom when the first reports came through about the tragic death of Steve Irwin.
The newsroom was abuzz with phone calls, meetings…word spread like wild fire.
The News flash went LIVE out of the QTQ9 Studios before any other network, after all Channel Nine is ‘still the one’ for news.
Despite news coming through the wire that Irwin was dead, these reports were unconfirmed, so the COS played the safe option of describing Iriwin’s condition as ‘gravely ill.’
Confirmed reports eventually came through that Irwin was dead and Nine broke the story immediately.
There were a total of 4 news breaks within half-an-hour.
News reporter Matt Dunstan was sent out on the next plane from Brisbane to Cairns, to cover the story from the location of Irwin’s death.
Other reporters were sent out to Australia Zoo, were Nine opened their news bulletin.
A Newsflash then came out of TCN9 (Sydney) with their anchor Mark Furgeson, but it was the Queensland newsroom that broke the story first.
The main news story was Irwin’s death, but with such a tragedy happening to a great Australian, other stories do a emerge such as tribute & legacy pieces.
Reporters had new assignments to do in very minimal time as video staff were tracking down old file footage of Irwin to put in their stories.
It was a very eventful day but it was fascinating to watch the newsroom react to possibly the biggest news story (so far) in 2006.