On the afternoon of March 15, 2019 an unthinkable act was perpetrated on the Muslim community of Christchurch New Zealand.
News media professionals played a critical role in covering the events of the day and the on-going conversation that was had in the public sphere.
This series pulls back the curtain on the people on the front-line... the often overlooked first-responders.
01 Thomas Mead | Broadcasting to the world
At the time of March 15’s mosque attack, journalist Thomas Mead had been playing netball with his colleagues at Newshub's Christchurch office. Hours later he would be broadcast across hundreds of television networks around the world as he faced one of the hardest tests for any journalist - reporting live on a terror attack.
In this episode, Thomas talks to Rev Frank Ritchie about what it was like working that day and how he walked the line between delivering the news and being empathetic to the people of his city, whose world had been turned upside down.
02 Blair Ensor | Into the thick of it
As an award-winning investigative journalist, specialising in crime reporting, Blair Ensor has a lot of experience in dealing with complicated and tragic stories. But nothing could have prepared him for the events of March 15.
The Stuff reporter was one of the first to the scene, having taken a Lime Scooter to the centre of Deans Ave as the Police and emergency services arrived. In this episode of Friday Prayers, Blair talks to Rev Frank Ritchie about how the day unfolded for him and the processing that followed.
03 Lisa Davies | Humanity in the horror
While reporting live on TV, Lisa Davies, One News reporter, showed emotion; her eyes glistening with tears as she shared her report. She’d been sent to cover a shooting which turned out to be a scene of unprecedented terror that had Kiwis glued to their television screens as the number of casualties grew.
In this episode, Lisa Davies shares with Rev Frank Ritchie what it was like arriving at the scene and how the day still affects her.
04 George Heard | Images & adrenaline
George is a self-trained visual journalist and is no stranger to throwing himself into tragic events to make sure there’s a visual account of what has happened - but the March 15 attacks were something on a scale he had not encountered before. According to his colleagues, he was the first photographer outside the mosque - and captured imagery that will probably never see the light of day.
In this episode, George Heard talks to Rev Frank Ritchie about running on adrenaline, recording history and the processing that followed.
05 Rachel Das | The voices of the victims
Reports of sirens and gunshots being fired are somewhat commonplace in a newsroom. However, on March 15 2019, NZME journalist Rachel Das knew something was very wrong when her boss made the huge call to tell her to turn around and head back to the office. It was the next day Rachel’s story unfolded as she was tasked with visiting the hospital and speaking to a large number of people who had lost loved ones.
In this episode, Rachel Das talks to Rev Frank Ritchie about her experiences talking with victims and their families.
06 Logan Church | Carrying the weight
The Christchurch terror attack of March 15, 2019 was an historic event in New Zealand. For the journalists at the scene of the attack, they were tasked with recording this history. RNZ journalist Logan Church was one who took on this responsibility and for the last year has carried the weight of what has been one of his toughest, ongoing stories.
In this episode, Logan Church talks to Rev Frank Ritchie about his experiences being responsible for covering the events, and how it still affects his work today.