ABC’s job cuts have hit reporters, commission makers, production executives transitioning to “digital first” media.

ABC’s job cuts have hit reporters, commission makers, production executives transitioning to “digital first” media.
  • ABC’s job cuts hit reporters and profile staff
  • Reducing the number of ABC executives in commissioning and production
  • Current Affairs Digital Transformation Project as a broadcaster moves towards a digital media organization
  • ABC News Sunday, a new national bulletin
  • Digital-first Stateline returns as part of Friday’s extended 40-minute newscast
  • Dedicated climate, environment and energy reporting team

Today the ax has struck ABC with job cuts hitting profile reporters and ABC executives in commissioning and production as the broadcaster moves increasingly to become a “digital-first media organization” .

ABC political editor Andrew Probyn was fired by ABC over up to 100 job cuts. 40 positions will become redundant at ABC News as 24 new digital skills roles are created. ABC is calling for expressions of interest in the firing from News Division staff until 5pm AEST on Sunday, June 25.

Probyn said Guardian Australia they were told by the national broadcaster that they no longer need a political news editor.

“I have been informed that the national broadcaster no longer needs a political editor and wants to reinvest the money into social and digital news roles,” Probyn said.

“Much good luck to ABC. I’m still trying to come to terms with it. I’m very proud of all the stories I’ve told ABC and the determination and vigor with which I’ve brought political coverage to the national broadcaster.

Probyn is the highest-profile journalist so far to be named in a 100-job cull.

He joined 7:30 as their political correspondent in 2016. Previously, he was a federal political editor for The West Australian, a state political reporter for ABC, and previously worked at the Herald Sun in Melbourne and Canberra. He was Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery’s Journalist of the Year and Gold Quill at the Melbourne Press Club Awards.

ABC last week released a five-year plan to become an integrated digital operation by 2028, adapting to audiences and the future.

ABC Chief Executive Officer David Anderson said today: “Together with media organizations here and abroad, the ABC operates in an environment subject to inflationary pressures. We also need to increase investment in digital transformation to improve our efficiency and meet the needs of the public.

“We have made clear our vision for the ABC to be an essential part of everyday life for all Australians through our high quality journalism and content, wherever they live across the country.

“The continued migration of audiences from broadcast to digital services presents an opportunity to ensure that the ABC is a central and trusted part of everyday media consumption for more Australians.

“By 2028, the majority of audience engagement will be on ABC’s digital platforms and we will have a digital-first approach to commission, produce and distribute content. We will enhance our core digital products, ABC iview, ABC listen and ABC News, to provide personalized services that make it easier for audiences to discover the journalism and content they care about.

“To make the most of this opportunity, we need to better align our resources and invest in the new skills we need in our workforce that we cannot create through retraining.

“Achieving these results requires some tough decisions. Whilst we have savings targets in support areas including travel and consultancy costs, unfortunately there is unavoidable impact on some roles.

“These changes are important to ensuring the long-term success of the organization, but we recognize it’s never easy, particularly for the people who are directly affected by these proposals.”

The proposed changes include:

  • The launch of the Current Affairs Digital Transformation Project to ensure some of ABC’s top investigative programming has the ability to meet audience demand for long-form on-demand video and in-depth digital content.
  • Continue the shift in the News Operations team from linear television programming to on-demand digital content and modernize ABC’s skill base.
  • Introducing ABC News Sunday, a new national bulletin bringing the best stories and journalism from Australia and the world.
  • The return of a digital state frontline, unpacking the local stories that matter through long-form journalism, in-depth interviews, and explanations for on-demand and broadcast audiences.
  • The establishment of a dedicated climate, environment and energy reporting team to focus on issues that are consistently ranked as critical to the future of the nation, particularly by young Australians.
  • Streamline our editor commissioning structure by reducing the number of ABC executives involved in the commissioning and production process with the independent sector, freeing up funds for investment in high quality, distinctive Australian content.
  • A digital-first approach to commissioning and content selection, with a focus on audiences from the earliest stage of development.
  • Improve the audience experience of ABC iview, ABC News and ABC listen to accelerate adoption of these platforms.
  • Promote our digital manufacturing with new roles established in our digital teams.

This post updates.