Laura Tupou presents the weekend editions of ThreeNews (Screengrab)
Laura Tupou presents the weekend editions of ThreeNews (Screengrab)

Pop CultureJuly 6, 2024

Here is the (new) news: ThreeNews makes its news debut 

Laura Tupou presents the weekend editions of ThreeNews (Screengrab)
Laura Tupou presents the weekend editions of ThreeNews (Screengrab)

It was sleek, it was shiny, it was very, very purple: Tara Ward tuned into the very first ThreeNews, the new 6pm bulletin replacing Newshub.

Yesterday was a big day for the news. First came the end of AM, then the last First News bulletin on Sky Open (featuring an unexpected cameo from Eric Young’s son, who darted joyfully around the studio) and the final edition of Newshub. It was the end of a news era after Warner Bros announced in February it would be closing the Newshub service due to a decline in advertising revenue and general economic downturn. 

Today, that was old news. Tonight, new news ThreeNews started on Three, a nightly news bulletin produced by Stuff in a move of incredibly high stakes. ThreeNews will run for one hour on weeknights and 30 minutes on weekends, and will feature many familiar Newshub faces including Samantha Hayes, Lisette Reymer, Jenna Lynch, Ollie Ritchie and Juliet Speedy.

Newsreader Laura Tupou welcomed us on the dot of six o’clock, as if this was just another day in the world of news. She wore a lovely white blazer and sat at a lovely white desk, and was surrounded by a lot of purple and grey. It was sleek, it was shiny, it was a glossy world filled with lots and lots of big, purple screens. 

We dived straight into the new news with a story about the government giving an additional $3 million to the Wairoa flood relief fund. It included a live cross to reporter Zane Hall, who was standing in an empty newsroom, presumably only metres from where Tupou was sitting. Then, an update on Labour’s landslide win in the British election, and an exclusive report from senior investigative journalist Paula Penfold. She joined Tupou to discuss her story about a probation officer who was sacked for accessing private files about Chinese offenders, and who was discovered to have close links to a former National MP and alleged spy.

After the first ad break, there was a short update on Joe Biden’s refusal to step down from the American presidential race, followed by a Samantha Hayes interview with a Black Power leader in Whakatāne who recently graduated from Waikato University and is encouraging his fellow gang members to put their patches away for good. 

It was a longer, more complex story than you’d expect in a traditional half-hour news round-up. In fact, it felt more like a Sunday story than something for the nightly news. But in this changing TV landscape, where does this kind of visual storytelling go now? Sunday is gone, Paddy Gower Has Issues is gone, Three’s new 7pm current affairs show never saw the light of day. The news is almost the last show standing with the capacity to deliver more in-depth, serious features about New Zealand issues, and this was a clear statement about the direction of ThreeNews: the 6pm news is no longer just about the big headlines, the sport and the weather. 

But after the second ad break – which featured a promo for the Stuff quiz – it was indeed time for sports news. The bulletin flowed more quickly and smoothly here, with five sports stories (the same number of stories as in the general news part of the bulletin) delivered in quick succession. Tupou crossed live to an exuberant Gordon Findlater in Dunedin for the first of two items about the All Blacks test, reminding us that no matter who brings us the news, people will always make goobers of themselves on live TV. 

Then, arguably the most important part of any news bulletin: the weather. New Zealand looked exactly the same on ThreeNews – still land, mountains, sea – and the weather will be a bit shit unless you’re in Christchurch (sunshine, high of 14). Tupou delivered the forecast and then finished with a poll that showed 84% of people who had their say on Stuff reckoned the All Blacks would win. Will the All Blacks also make goobers of themselves in front of the camera? We may have to watch tomorrow night’s news to find out. 

ThreeNews screens every night at 6pm on Three and streams on ThreeNow.  

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