The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is preparing to give its editorial policies a comprehensive shake-up, aiming to reduce the current 170-page booklet, which it is a safe bet to suppose few staffers have read, to a slim volume supported by guidance notes.

The review will be announced to ABC staff today.

The ABC has tweaked its editorial policies every few years, but I understand that this will be a really comprehensive re-write with the aim of making the policies readable and relevant to the new media age.

The model will be the social media policy that was announced by ABC managing director Mark Scott at the Media140 Conference late last year. At a time when other media companies were issuing directives to staff not to use social networking platforms such as Twitter, the new ABC policy contained just four directives:

  • Do not mix the professional and the personal in ways likely to bring the ABC into disrepute.
  • Do not undermine your effectiveness at work.
  • Do not imply ABC endorsement of your personal views.
  • Do not disclose confidential information obtained through work.

Scott foreshadowed the editorial policy review in his speech to the Melbourne Press Club yesterday (Read the whole speech here).

Scott said the aim was: “Less about having a rule book and more about having a genuine, shared belief across the organisation.”

What exactly does that mean? Information is soon to be posted on the ABC staff intranet giving the rationale for the review, an initial draft of the principles and standards, and information on how to give feedback.

The resulting policies will go to the ABC board later this year.

If I can get the stuff from the staff intranet, I’ll post and discuss later on my blog, The Content Makers.

Peter Fray

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