It’s a newsroom’s deepest nightmare. It’s a few minutes to deadline and suddenly the lead goes missing (as they can in these days of computers, the internet and server-based editing systems, of the kind found increasingly in most TV newsrooms). And that includes the Seven Network in Sydney.
When Abu Bakar Bashir was convicted in relation to the Bali bombing late last week (Thursday, March 3, Seven’s whole news bulletin flashed in front of everyone’s mind. The lead story, sent by reporter Adrian Brown from Jakarta and assembled in Sydney, had vanished from the computer editing system and was nowhere to be found.
Seven had flown Brown to Jakarta for the decision while bitter rival, the Nine Network stayed at home. Seven newsroom insiders say the story cost more than $10,000 and at around 5.45pm, it was realised that it had vanished into the ether.
A hurried call was made to Adrian Brown in Jakarta who was told to go to the studio used in the city and do a two-way with Ian Ross in Sydney. Ross set up the story with a long intro and overlay before the two-way with Brown.
It worked, and Seven had a very narrow escape from a near death experience that could shorten people’s lives. Meanwhile, Nine had a package done here in Sydney with all the associated stress and bother experienced by Seven.