The ABC is set to announce a new 5.30pm national news bulletin — produced and presented from the broadcaster’s East Perth studios — will be screened on ABC1 on weekdays from early in the New Year.
The West Australian understands the bulletin will be read by WA newsreader James McHale and will concentrate on high-end national news.
A second, updated version of the 5.30pm news will be broadcast live to WA audiences. The bulletins will have a different look and feel to the 7pm news, which will be unaffected by the changes.
ABC Perth news director Kim Jordan would not be drawn on the national bulletin, saying it was “early days yet” and any details would be released “in due course”.
The West Australian understands an announcement, which would be seen as a coup for local production, could be made as soon as today. Any bulletin is likely to be produced using existing ABC staff, with perhaps opportunities for one of two additional local producers.
The decision to use the Perth newsroom for the bulletin is logical because the local studio is not generally in use at 2.30pm, when the bulletin would be filmed and broadcast live to the east coast.
The move follows a trend towards providing television news earlier in the evening, with Channel Seven and the Nine Network both introducing 4.30pm bulletins in recent years.