The Australian television industry has come together to pay tribute to legendary Sydney news presenter Brian Henderson after his death yesterday.
Henderson passed away at the age of 89 after enduring lengthy battles with throat and kidney cancer.
The famed presenter holds the record for being the longest-serving TV newsreader after reading the TCN-9 Sydney bulletin from January 1957 until 2002.
Henderson won the Gold Logie in 1968 and was famous nationally for hosting the ground-breaking music program, Bandstand.
Nine’s National Director of News & Current Affairs Darren Wick acknowledged the enormous contribution Henderson made to the network in note to staff yesterday:
Today we lost a genuine legend of television news with the passing of Brian Henderson.
Hendo hated clichés and waged war on them throughout his career. But there never was anyone like him. And it’s unlikely there will ever be again.
If I wrote that about someone else, it would be a cliché. However, writing it about Brian Henderson, it’s simply fact.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to Hendo’s family. His wife Mardi and daughters Nicole and Jody were with him at the end. That’s the way he wanted it.
And here at NINE, where Hendo presented the News for 46 years, we mourn his loss. But we also celebrate a legacy that is the foundation of what we do every day in reporting the news.
From 1957 until 1963, he was the Weekend newsreader for Channel NINE in Sydney. In 1964, he became the weekday presenter and remained in that role until retirement at the end of 2002.
The Vietnam war, the Moon landing, the Dismissal of the Whitlam Government, Fraser-Hawke-Keating-Howard, the September 11 terror attacks, the Sydney Olympic Games and Cathy Freeman’s inspirational Gold medal run. Hendo guided us through every major moment in our history. Through good times and dark times, he was our trusted source of credible and reliable information.
His tone would comfort and encourage. It was perfect. Always.
And with Hendo at the helm, NINE became the “Who’s Who of News”. It was one of the most famous promotional campaigns to reinforce the credentials of Sydney’s BEST news team.
Laurie Oakes, Liz Hayes, Peter Harvey, Georgie Gardner, Ken Sutcliffe, Leila McKinnon, Peter Overton, Robert Penfold, Allison Langdon, Karl Stefanovic, Mark Burrows and Damian Ryan.
The BEST in journalism. The BEST in quality. The BEST culture. That was NINE’s recipe to be the BEST in ratings for so many years.
In his wonderful acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Kennedy Awards for excellence in journalism, Hendo captured the NINE News style perfectly, explaining his regular advice to young writers in our Sydney newsroom: “Clever is good. But clear is best.”
I encourage you to have a look at his full speech on that special night through this link:
Hendo remained very close to the end with our current Sydney newsreader Peter Overton and our Deputy News Director Mary Davison.
In 2021, our Sydney news is the Number One rated bulletin – a position it’s held for the past 11 years. The attention to detail and clarity of message that Hendo drove for years is the secret behind our continuing success.
This is the legacy he left for us and with Peter Overton at the helm, we’re privileged to have a person who embodies those same qualities and that constant pursuit of perfection.
And while television presentation today has evolved and looks very different from Hendo’s era, one thing that remains timeless at NINE News is our ability to report the story better than anyone else.
Co-Creator and Editor of the TV Blackbox website, Kevin Perry is an experienced media commentator focused on TV Production, Consumer Tech, SVOD & Sports Broadcasting. Media enquiries please Call or Text 0428-275-111
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