A prominent insider at the ABC has filed this piece for Crikey on Aunty’s management practices in the newsroom. We support the ABC and we support the public knowing more about what goes on inside our national broadcaster.

Then you decide the stumbling presenter of ‘AM’ should be shuffled aside. After two years of coaxing [he must jump, he can’t be pushed] you create a new title called Foreign Editor, and stick him in an office to occasionally foray out into the world along with your ex-Jakarta correspondent. The ex-Jakarta correspondent benefited from five years of ABC promotion only so he could go off and get a high paying job with the Bulletin at the time the ABC needed him the most. Remember the fall of that guy called Suharto? Two big salaries for people who can basically file at their leisure. The foreign correspondents have no money to travel, but these two can travel at will.

This has created a problem though. Your diplomatic correspondent in Canberra feels that the ex-Jakarta correspondent and the ex-AM presenter have stolen her territory. No problem. Hand her the chief political reporting job for AM and PM. Doesn’t matter that you piss off the current incumbent, who breaks more stories than anyone else in the Canberra ABC office. But that’s not saying much is it?

Oh and by the way you’ve just lost your best TV News editor from the Sydney newsroom. He’s only the man who runs national coverage for every tv newsroom. He’s told you, you’re giving him more management bullshit to deal with when he needs to spend time preparing a bulletin. But go right ahead, ignore him. That’s why he’s leaving. After all, it’s really easy to find people who have the technical and editorial know-how to co-ordinate six tv newsrooms around the country.

Needless to say all of this is done without consulting the people who run your programs. Kind of like Fred Hilmer appointing your foreign correspondents without consulting with the editors who actually put the paper together.

And all you media and government foot soldiers are thinking, so what’s new?

Isn’t this the way the rest of the world works?

* Some of the relevent names for this piece including the following: Peter Martin, Iris Makler, Catherine McGrath, Bill McLeod and Alexandra Kirk.

Peter Fray

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