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Samantha Hayes and Mike McRoberts present Newshub Live at 6
Samantha Hayes and Mike McRoberts present Newshub Live at 6

MediaApril 10, 2024

‘The end of news as we know it’: How the news reported the end of the news, again 

Samantha Hayes and Mike McRoberts present Newshub Live at 6
Samantha Hayes and Mike McRoberts present Newshub Live at 6

Today it was confirmed that both Newshub and Sunday would be gone by the middle of the year. Here’s how the networks covered the news of their own closures. 

“Tēnā tātou katoa,” began Mike McRoberts, “it’s the end of the news as we know it.” 

In front of a steely grey studio background and adopting suitably steely expressions, Sam Hayes and Mike McRoberts confirmed to the country that Newshub was officially being shut down, and that 35 years of news at 6pm on Three would end in July.  

“In a meeting with staff this morning, Three’s owners Warner Brothers Discovery confirmed the closure of our news service, Newshub, the loss of nearly 300 jobs, and more than half of them from the news team,” continued McRoberts. 

Michael Morrah speaks to his media colleagues outside Newshub

“Our last bulletin’s been inked for Friday July 5, after which the media landscape will be dramatically different,” said Hayes, adding the closure coincides with TVNZ confirming the cancellation of its longform current affairs series Sunday (Fair Go and the bulletins being cancelled was literally yesterday’s news). 

Laura Tupou’s report then took us outside the Flower Street building as casually dressed journalist superstars spoke to the scrum. “Media addressing the media after confirmation of the worst,” Tupou said, as Hayes and McRoberts from hours prior took questions. 

“Companies come and go,” began plain clothes, polo-wearing McRoberts. “But it’s…” he pauses. “It’s he tangata. It’s the people who create the legacy and carry the legacy.” Hayes’ voice wavered as she also mentioned the special, familial feeling within the company. 

“That’s what’s gonna get us through, isn’t it?” she asked nobody in particular. 

Tupou then sat down with James Gibbons, her boss’s boss’s boss’s boss, and asked him whether news on Three could still be made by another local company. “Conversations are ongoing,” said Gibbons. “I do not have any conclusion to share, but those conversations are ongoing.” 

While ongoing conversations remain ongoing, Newshub’s Michael Morrah, whose proposal to save the 6pm bulletin was rejected, looked less convinced. “We’re deeply disappointed that this has ultimately been unsuccessful,” he said from the floor of the bustling newsroom. 

Michael Morrah

“As you’ve seen today, the company has told us that it could not see a path to profitability with the model. It was unwilling to sustain any further losses.” 

And where was Melissa Lee in all of this? “I don’t think I can actually save anything,” she laughed from parliament’s tiles into the Newshub microphone, slightly too cheery for the occasion. “I’m trying to be who I am: I’m the minister for media and communications.” 

While Lee said she was working to “provide a level playing field for the media to be more sustainable, modernise and innovate”, Morrah looked even more shattered than a mere 30 seconds prior. “It’s an awful feeling,” he said. “I just feel exhausted, actually, and empty.”

That said, he’s not quite hanging up his notebook yet. “I’ve got a story coming up on Newshub live at 6,” he said, summoning a smile. “So you can tune into that one.”

Laura Tupou speaks to James Gibbons from WBD

Over on TVNZ, Simon Dallow was looking like the last man standing while he delivered more news about the news. Newshub and Sunday sat side by side on the studio background, as Kim Baker Wilson reported live from the newsroom about the “sad” meetings at TVNZ. 

Meanwhile at TVNZ

Later in the package, Bill Ralston answered the question that is hanging over every story, every soundbite, every headline about the current media environment: “I think the journalists at Newshub will not find jobs in media in New Zealand,” he said, plainly. 

Returning to the studio, the next story was about the incoming West Coast storm. 

“It’s a sight we’re getting used to,” the voiceover began, over shots of disaster and waste.

Keep going!