120 jobs to go as the ABC prepares for a digital future


High profile ABC political editor Andrew Probyn admits he’s shocked after being made redundant, as the national broadcaster prepares for a digital future.

Probyn – a two-time Press Gallery Journalist of the Year – was the first big casualty as major job cuts were announced.

The ABC’s state-based 7pm Sunday news bulletins will be abolished – and around 120 jobs axed – as it transitions from a linear television broadcaster to a digital-first media organisation.

Resources will reportedly be directed into three new roles generating digital and social content, intended to better engage under-served audiences, including young people.

The ABC flagged last week that it would undergo a significant transition towards digital transmission, reducing the number of resources invested in AM radio stations and programs, to focus on boosting podcasts and on-demand programs instead.

Whilst it will continue to broadcast on AM and FM bands (as elderly listeners, in particular, are reliant upon them), resources will be diverted towards the digital delivery of ABC content.

According to The Guardian, ABC Managing Director David Anderson told staff that by 2028 the ABC will be an “integrated digital operation, and audience engagement will predominantly be through our digital products.”

That means enhancing services such as ABC Listen.

Anderson noted that while traditional radio and television broadcasting remains important to the organisation, it must  adapt for the future.

The Guardian reports ABC News Director Justin Stevens told staff that as the shift to digital news consumption accelerates, an additional 24 roles in news and current affairs would be created, largely for digital shooters, producers and editors.

“There is an opportunity to transform our political coverage to engage new audiences, including younger audiences, who are increasingly seeking their political news from other platforms and outlets, while also continuing to serve our broadcast audiences.”

A digital-first 10-minute version of the old Stateline program will be added to the Friday news bulletin in each state.

It’s understood the ABC will also establish a dedicated climate, environment and energy reporting team.

Addressing the cuts, Greens Spokesperson for Media and Communications Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says it’s devastating news.

“This is shocking for public interest journalism and for the hardworking, talented staff of the ABC.”

Media Union MEAA says the job cuts will leave gaping holes in the ABC’s journalism around Australia.

 MEAA Media Director Cassie Derrick says “The ABC has been running on empty for the past decade and we are concerned about how it can continue to deliver quality public interest journalism with even fewer staff following these cuts.”

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19 Jun 2023 - 9:08 am

I think everyone agrees that digital is the future – but we’re not there yet. I think the ABC is moving way too fast. AM, FM and DAB+ will be around for a long time. The ABC continues to ignore DAB+ at its peril. Firstly they need to work with ACMA and the government to get off AM, either with FM, DAB+ or DRM, supplemented by online platforms. Look at the UK they are way further down the path of the “digital future” and yet the BBC there is still very much focused on FM and DAB+ delivery of radio. It’s 10 – 15 years away in this country. Also, the ABC need to put more focus on what their content is, rather than the delivery platform. Their radio offerings are quite sad in comparison to the BBC again. They need a Radio 2 equivalent. Double J is a lost opportunity – far too niche and “exclusive”.. RN sounds like a collection of random podcasts rather than a national radio station. Get back to basics ABC and focus on the content.


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