Westfield Bondi knife attack sees news figures spike as TV networks broadcast rolling coverage

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Newspaper front pages highlighted the Bondi tragedy across Australia and the United Kingdom.

As news of the knife attack at Westfield Bondi Junction in Sydney made the media around 4pm Saturday, newsrooms quickly devoted resources to cover the stabbings.

Television, radio, and online coverage responded as newsrooms realised the enormity of the tragedy.

Sunday newspapers across Australia devoted many pages to the murders. Below is a selection of front pages from Australia and a number of UK newspapers that covered the attack.

Front pages of Sydney Sunday newspapers.
Top image: Nine’s Karl Stefanovic live from Bondi Junction on Sunday morning

TV and radio news react quickly to Bondi attack

Nine and Seven both soon had reporters filing from the area while 10 News First at Five had coverage when it went to air.

Sky News kept viewers abreast of developments until it was able to start taking live images and then had a reporter in Oxford Street. Similarly, the ABC News channel devoted its airwaves to news from Bondi Westfield.


On radio, 2GB was quick to act. The station was taking the Continuous Call Team program when first reports were put to air. The show’s anchor, Mark Levy, was hosting from the broadcast booth at CommBank Stadium. He soon ditched the football to keep listeners updated on the unfolding story.

2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham was soon on air, sharing what we was learning about the drama. Fordham soon arrived at the 2GB studio in North Sydney to allow Levy to focus on the football later in the day.

The free-to-air broadcasters made the decision to suspend normal programming.

The Nine coverage was anchored by Mark Burrows and Deborah Knight. The Seven coverage was anchored by the Sydney weekend news presenters Michael Usher and Angela Cox.

Seven’s Michael Usher and Angela Cox on air Saturday afternoon

As the afternoon wore on the rolling news coverage ran into the 6pm news hours on both Seven and Nine. When Prime Minister Anthony Albanese later made a statement about the tragedy it was run live on all FTA primary channels.

The PM’s statement was also broadcast live from Canberra on a number of international news channels including BBC News and Sky News UK.

Saturday evening news ratings

Nobody wants to claim a ratings win from such a terrible tragedy. What Mediaweek can reveal is that the audience numbers did spike for viewers watching the evening news bulletins.

Nine News at 6pm Saturday was up 148,000 week-on-week across the metro network: aclimb of around 25%. The Sydney audience was up 66,000, a lift of about 50%. (All audience numbers average, all people. Comparison is with the Saturday bulletins one week earlier.)

Seven News at 6pm Saturday across the metro network was up 32,000. The Sydney audience was up 23,000. The growth was close to 15% for both numbers.

The national Total TV figures saw 9News and 7News each with a national reach close to 2m people.

9News had a national reach of 1,960,000. The average audience was 1,080,000 with a BVOD audience of 74,000.

7News had a national reach of 1,956,000. The average audience was 1,056,000 with a BVOD audience of 38,000.

10News had a national reach of 602,000. The average audience was 257,000, with a BVOD audience of 9,000.

The ABC News bulletin at 7pm was also up – growing close to 50,000 across the metro markets and in Sydney. The Sydney audience grew close to 50%.

Both Seven and Nine stayed with rolling coverage from Bondi into the evening as more reporters were deployed to the scene. Dedicated news services on Sky News and ABC News Channel were also live with reporters on location.

Sky News had Peter Stefanovic anchoring from the Sky newsroom. Laura Jayes was on location at Bondi and she was devastated to reveal on-air that she knew one of the victims of the knife attack.

Early Sunday start for Today and Sunrise

On Sunday morning, both Seven’s Sunrise and Nine’s Today started their weekend editions early.

Sunrise weekday co-host Matt Shirvington was in Oxford Street Bondi Junction. Only metres away from him, Today weekday co-host Karl Stefanovic was also reporting for the show.

British newspapers cover Bondi attack

A number of newspapers around Australia devoted their covers and many inside pages to the tragedy.

Sunday newspapers across Britain also kept readers informed of developments in Sydney. Below is a selection of both.

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