ABC defended its bombshell announcement this week that it sees 120 employees laid off amid savings and efficiencies as part of a larger digital transformation move.
ABC News will lose about 40 existing roles but anticipates creating 24 new roles.
The new ads include a national 7pm edition Sundanese ABC News the bulletin – which will not be broadcast by Ultimo – is scheduled for October. A guest has yet to be announced.
A digital novelty state borderwill also be broadcast on Friday evenings as part of an extended 40-minute bulletin produced by state and territory newsrooms and hosted by local 7:00 p.m.
Amid mounting criticism of its political editor Andrew Probyn’s axing, ABC says the job title was created in 2015, at a time when most of its audience was primarily served by the 7 p.m. news.
ABC News director Justin Stevens (pictured left) said: “All of these offerings have the Australian public at the forefront. It is up to us to ensure ABC news and journalism reaches as many Australians as possible – this means we need to be able to meet them on our digital platforms and the new platforms they are using, as well as maintaining traditional services.
“Every media organization is making tough decisions to be able to provide the best and most useful services to the public while also dealing with rising costs and budget pressures. It is imperative that we adapt to ensure that our relevance and value remains as strong as it has been throughout ABC’s history.
“Unfortunately some of these proposals have an impact on some roles. In the coming weeks, we say goodbye to our colleagues who have done a great job. Their contributions to ABC and the public are greatly respected and appreciated.”
Here is the ABC statement:
ABC News Sunday
ABC News produces eight 7:00 p.m. evening television newscasts around the country. Weekends often vary little from state to state. Consolidating our commitment to a national bulletin Sunday will put the bulletin on a more sustainable footing in the long term, while continuing to serve our loyal 7pm viewers with our top quality journalism. Beginning in late 2023, ABC News Sunday will be a flagship offering to meet the needs of broadcast viewers, led by one of our key on-air talent. The bulletin will bring the best local stories to a national audience, drawing from our eight state and territory newsrooms and 58 regional offices. It will also showcase our unparalleled strength in gathering international news from ABC’s 12 overseas locations. State and territory teams will retain full reporting staff on weekends and continue to comprehensively cover local stories across our digital platforms, throughout the day. We will also continue to have dedicated local editions during major news events, such as state elections, emergency coverage, and other major local events.
Additionally, ABC News will invest in elevating our grip on state and territory matters with a new digital version of Stateline. Stateline will focus on the areas that matter most to local audiences – such as the cost of living, health, education, safety and transportation – with long-form video journalism and explanations, and will feature great in-depth interviews with key figures. Stateline will be available on demand to digital and social audiences and via ABC iview and will also be part of an expanded Friday 7:00 p.m. news bulletin for broadcast audiences.
Local news coverage on regional
Increasingly, the public receives news from digital platforms. This year, the reach of ABC’s digital audience is expected to exceed each of our television and radio broadcasts for the first time, the majority of which are represented by ABC News’ digital audience. The introduction of ABC News Sunday also enables editorial teams to pull more news stories for our social and digital platforms, meaning our ability to disseminate and cover local news is strengthened. Our eight state and territory newsrooms publish nearly 200 articles a week, and ABC’s text-based journalism reaches more than 10 million Australians aged 14 and over each month.
Federal political coverage
Under the proposal, ABC News would lose two broadcast-focused roles in the Canberra Parliament office and create three new roles that would be dedicated to bringing our best political journalism to audiences that don’t have access to linear TV. In a time of fragmented media, connecting more Australians to political news they can trust, on the platforms they increasingly use, is more important than ever.
The Political Editor role was a job title created in 2015, primarily to report for 7PM News, at a time when most of our audience was primarily served by 7PM News. We retain the roles of editor, policy and deputy editor who manage and have editorial responsibility for coverage.
ABC’s Canberra Parliament House office has more than 20 political journalists and editors, including a number of highly experienced reporters who would continue to spearhead our extensive coverage and expert analysis of federal politics across television, radio and digital reporting. Senior reporters within the bureau include David Speers, Laura Tingle, Greg Jennett, Nour Haydar, Jane Norman, Shalailah Medhora, Andrew Greene, Stephanie Borys, Stephanie Dalzell, Matt Doran, Dana Morse, Stephen Dziedzic and James Glenday (currently in secondment), among others. We also have many other formidable reporters covering federal affairs outside of Canberra, such as Sabra Lane (AM), David Lipson (PM), Sarah Ferguson at 7.30am, Annabel Crabb, Patricia Karvelas (RN Breakfast), Dan Bourchier and analyst election leader Antony Green. This is in addition to our extensive coverage of the policy from every state and territory in the country.
There is a high demand for investigative and in-depth journalism and storytelling on digital platforms. This offering adds specialist skills and experience to 7.30, Four Corners, Australian Story, the Investigative Reporting Team and Background Briefing to bring some of our biggest brands to digital audiences and ensure our award-winning investigative journalism reaches as many Australians as possible.
New Climate, Environment and Energy Team
ABC News is building new specialized teams to create highly relevant content for our growing digital audience. A climate, environment and energy team will be formed to provide authoritative, reliable and specialist reports on climate change issues including energy, agriculture, climate and the environment. Dedicated news digital reporting roles will also be created to enable us to rapidly scale up our online reporting capacity for breaking news and major daily events. Two other teams are already operational: the vertical video team, which successfully launched the ABC News TikTok account in December, and the newly formed Indigenous Affairs Reporting Team, which brings together our First Nations journalists to uplift Indigenous voices and stories in the national conversation.
Under this proposal, all ABC News operations specialists would have the skills to work on digital and broadcast content. The NSW operations teams would also become part of the state, national and current affairs editorial groups they already work with towards a team approach. This has already been successfully completed in the other states, with excellent results.