There has been an outpouring of support for an ABC News reporter who appeared to break down during a live cross while reporting on the axing of jobs at a Queensland meat processing facility.
Michael Rennie was standing outside the Ipswich plant of Australia’s biggest meat producer, JBS, on Thursday morning when he suddenly stopped talking and placed his head in his hand.
He had just explained that 600 workers of the 1700-strong workforce would be cut, likely having a major impact on the local economy given the company is one of the biggest employers in the area.
ABC News Mornings host Joe O'Brien expressed immediate concern for his colleague, who was shown briefly not moving while hanging his head to the side.
“We'll just make sure Michael is OK there. Um, so we'll get the cameraman to check on Michael and we'll get our bosses there right away to make sure he's OK,” O’Brien told viewers.
Throughout the morning coverage the host referred back to the earlier on-screen incident, at one stage saying it “was really concerning seeing our reporter Michael Rennie there having some issues when he was doing that report”.
O’Brien later said staff had been in contact with Rennie who they were “a bit concerned about” but had been assured that he was OK.
“We were having a chat to him in the last 5 or 10 minutes or so and he wasn't able to continue. Yeah, we were a bit concerned about him, but he is OK,” he said.
“And we look forward to having a chat to him again soon.”
Following the distressing segment, viewers took to Twitter to express their concern for the reporter’s wellbeing.
“Hoping Michael Rennie is okay after his report,” one person wrote.
“Watching ABC NEWS 24. Is that reporter OK? That didn’t look good. I hope he’s all right,” someone else said.
“Is that reporter from QLD reporting on the meat plant job losses okay?” another wrote.
Some speculated over the cause of the episode, asking if he was crying or had experienced a heart attack.
“Hope your reporter is ok. Fingers crossed. Just saw it and am worried for the poor bugger,” one person said.
Rennie took to Twitter himself soon after the incident and clarified what had gone wrong during the live cross.
“Thanks for all the concern about what happened on ABC news channel this morning. I was dehydrated and lost my train of thought. But I’m fine and I’ll be back at work tomorrow. Cheers,” he wrote.
An ABC News spokesperson confirmed with Yahoo News Australia he had gone home for a rest and was expected to be back for work on Friday.
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