ABC News announces digital transformation proposals – ABC News has outlined content initiatives and proposed changes to maintain value and relevance for audiences and safeguard our trusted public interest journalism for the future as we accelerate digital transformation, while also achieving savings and efficiencies.
These include launching a national edition of the 7PM Sunday news, launching a digital-first Stateline, which will also be broadcast on Friday nights, and creating a dedicated Climate, Environment and Energy reporting team.
There are also proposals to reshape the current affairs, operations and national politics teams in order to introduce more digital journalism skills and expertise to fully serve our rapidly growing digital audiences. As part of these changes, ABC News would lose around 40 existing roles and anticipates creating 24 new roles.
ABC Director, News Justin Stevens:
“All these proposals have the Australian public front of mind. It’s incumbent on 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 on new platforms they’re using, as well as maintaining traditional services.
“Every media organisation is making tough decisions to be able to deliver the best and most useful services to audiences while also dealing with rising costs and budget pressures. It’s crucial we adapt to ensure our relevance and value remains as strong as it has throughout the ABC’s history.
“Unfortunately, some of these proposals entail an impact on some roles. Over coming weeks we stand to farewell colleagues who have done great work. Their contribution to the ABC and to the public is greatly respected and appreciated.”
ABC NEWS SUNDAY
ABC News produces eight nightly broadcast TV 7PM news bulletins across the country. On weekends they often vary little from state to state. Consolidating our effort in one national bulletin on Sunday will put the bulletin on a more sustainable long-term footing while continuing to serve our loyal 7PM viewers with our highest quality journalism.
Starting later in 2023, ABC News Sunday will be a flagship offering to meet the needs of broadcast viewers, fronted by one of our key on-air talents. The bulletin will bring the best local stories to a national audience, drawing on our eight state and territory newsrooms and 58 regional bureaux. It will also showcase our unparalleled international newsgathering strength from the ABC’s 12 overseas posts.
State and territory teams will retain all reporting staff at weekends and continue comprehensive coverage of local stories across our digital platforms, throughout the day. We’ll also continue to have dedicated local editions during big news events, such as state elections, emergency coverage and other major local events.
In addition, ABC News will be investing in elevating our scrutiny of state and territory issues with a new, digital-first version of Stateline. Stateline will focus on the areas that matter most to local audiences – such as cost of living, health, education, safety and transport – with long-form video journalism and explainers and feature big, probing set-piece interviews with key figures. Stateline will be available on-demand to digital and social audiences and via ABC iview and also form part of an extended Friday 7PM News bulletin for broadcast audiences.
LOCAL NEWS COVERAGE ON DIGITAL
Increasingly, audiences are getting their news from digital platforms. This year the ABC’s digital audience reach is expected to surpass each of our broadcast TV reach and our radio reach for the first time, the largest part of that being ABC News digital audiences.
Introducing ABC News Sunday also enables editorial teams to do more newsgathering for our social and digital platforms, meaning our ability to break and cover local news is strengthened. Our eight state and territory newsrooms publish almost 200 stories a week and each month the ABC’s text journalism reaches more than 10 million Australians aged 14+.
FEDERAL POLITICAL COVERAGE
Under the proposal ABC News would lose two broadcast-focused roles in the Canberra Parliament House bureau and create three new roles which would be dedicated to taking our best political journalism to audiences who aren’t accessing it on linear TV. In a time of media fragmentation, connecting more Australians to political news they can trust, on the platforms they’re increasingly using, is more important than ever.
The Political Editor role was a job title created in 2015, primarily to report for the 7PM News, at a time when the majority of our audience was primarily serviced by the 7PM News. We retain the roles of Editor, Politics and Deputy Editor who manage and have editorial responsibility for coverage.
The ABC’s Canberra Parliament House bureau has more than 20 political reporters and editors, including numerous highly experienced journalists who would continue to lead our extensive, expert coverage and analysis of federal politics across television, radio and digital services.
Senior journalists 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 on secondment), among others. We also have many other formidable journalists covering federal issues from outside Canberra, such as Sabra Lane (AM), David Lipson (PM), Sarah Ferguson on 7.30, Annabel Crabb, Patricia Karvelas (RN Breakfast), Dan Bourchier and Chief Elections Analyst Antony Green. This is in addition to our extensive coverage of politics from every state and territory in the country.
There is strong demand for investigative and in-depth journalism and storytelling on digital platforms. This proposal adds specialist skills and experience to 7.30, Four Corners, Australian Story, the Investigative Reporting Team and Background Briefing to take 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 creating new specialist teams to create content of significant public interest for our growing digital audiences. A Climate, Environment and Energy Team will be formed to provide authoritative, trustworthy and specialist reporting on issues relating to climate change including energy, agriculture, weather and the environment.
Dedicated News Digital reporting roles will also be created to enable us to quickly scale up our online reporting capacity for breaking news and big 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 elevate Indigenous voices and stories in the national conversation.
Under this proposal all ABC News operations specialists would have the skills to work across digital as well as broadcast content. The NSW operations teams would also become part of the current affairs, national and state editorial teams they already work with for a one-team approach. This has already been successfully completed in the other states, with great results.
Media Release – ABC
Link to ABC iview HERE
TV Central ABC content HERE