TV & Radio

Feb 7, 2013

ABC News gets $10m extra funding to boost regional coverage

ABC news boss Kate Torney today announced a major funding boost, with implications for news-gathering operations across the country.

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

The ABC's news division has received $10 million in extra funding to hire more journalists, establish a fact-checking unit and boost its commitment to reporting in regional areas. ABC news director Kate Torney made the announcement to ABC employees in Sydney this afternoon, telling staff there is "no better place to be if you're a journalist than the ABC". The funding boost -- which will also be used to invest in cameras and live broadcasting technology in regional areas -- is a significant coup given the annual ABC News budget is approximately $160 million. Managing director Mark Scott and other executives have been in Canberra this week lobbying for more funding in the next triennial budget round, to be delivered in the May budget. In an email sent out today, Torney told staff:
"With this additional funding, we will embark on a second phase of the newsgathering project, investing in our news and current affairs teams across the country by recruiting more journalists in more areas and by putting more cameras and links in regional Australia. We will also recruit specialist reporters in key areas, establish a fact-checking/research unit, recruit a Freedom of Information Editor, and enhance our capacity to do more original and local reporting."
Torney also announced new appointments to the News team:
Editor of Planning Desk: Gavin Fang (Asia Pacific News Centre) Editors of Newsgathering Desk:​  John Shovelan (ABC News, former Washington Correspondent)/Rob Cross (News)/ Philippa Quinn (News) Editors of Production Desk:​  Paul Muggeridge (ABC News 24)/ Sue Stephenson (ABC News 24)/ Glenn Trowbridge (News) TV News Editor:​​​ Tim Ayliffe (News Breakfast) International Editor:​​ Michael Carey (International)
The new Network Rounds are:
Defence & National Security: Michael Brissenden Social Affairs: Sally Sara Rural & Regional: Peter Lewis Resources & Business: Sue Lannin Consumer Affairs: Amy Bainbridge Science & Technology: Jake Sturmer
Michael Tull, national president of the Community and Public Sector Union, which represents ABC workers, welcomed the announcement. “The ABC has been under greater pressure in recent years as it deals with the increased workload that a converged media environment demands," he said in a statement. "It successfully launched News24 with no additional funding and other areas of the corporation paid the price. “This money will go some way to alleviating the pressure that has been placed on staff and the wider organisation as the ABC expands its footprint.”

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9 thoughts on “ABC News gets $10m extra funding to boost regional coverage

  1. fredex

    Let me know if the announcement is promising a fair dinkum return [?] to ‘fair and balanced’ reporting.
    That the IPA is going to be banished to the wilderness they want to destroy, that Murdoch and Fairfax hacks will be told to stay at home cos they are being replaced by experts, you know people who actually know what they are talking about and not just pushing the standard vested ineterest COALition partis line of the MSM.
    That policy will replace personality as the focus of reporting.
    That the ABC will actually start to do what it has been supposed to be doing for yonks but hasn’t.
    Otherwise I suppose it will just be another bit of window dressing or maybe more jobs lost or a further foray into free market corporatism.

    Sorry about the cynical realism but I’m a bit fed up with the ABC.

  2. Mike Flanagan

    I do hope they address the cloning of the Murdoch scribblers and the IPA etc.
    Recent subtle changes, that seem to be subsequent to the appointmentof Jim Spigelman as Chair of the board, are a miniscule step in the right direction but the whole gene pool need to be sent for reappraisal.
    The habit of journalists interviewing journalists and redundant hacks, that now eke a living in the PR industry, can ony be described a misappropriation of public funds.

  3. fredex

    $10 million?


    Make that wow instead, a very small wow, in fact on the wow factor scale its miniscule.
    Let’s see now, what is the total budget of the ABC?
    Just so we can put the $10 million wow into context and perspective.

    Never mind, I found this from Mr D’s Failed Estate:

    “The Australian Broadcasting Corporation received a net $840 million in revenue from the federal government last year. Its real funding has been cut 23% since the mid-1980s.”
    I presume that net revenue excludes any profitable undertakings the corporate ABC makes and so the real figure for revenus would be somewhat higher.

    $10 million aint a lot is it?
    Minus staff lost time cos they were listening and watching
    management rather than news gathering etc..

    The powers that be at the ABC need to lobby a little bit harder, or maybe produce something of greater value with what they already receive.

    Colour me underwhelmed.

  4. gavin robertson

    What exactly is this $10 million? $10 million a year, that amount spread over a number of years, or a one-off payment? If the latter, it’s not going to make any long term difference.

  5. floorer

    Yeah I’d like the ABC to be like Peter Costello, all tip and no (ice) Berg boom boom

  6. paddy

    From Karen Barlow on Twitter.
    Seven new cadet journalists are starting at the ABC this year. 1,100 people applied. They must be talented.

    That’s a couple of scary numbers. Who amongst those 7 cadets is going to stand up to management if they’re told to “toe the company line”?

  7. Cuppa

    The ABC should have its overall funding cut by dozens of per cent as a consequence for the right wing favouritism of its presentation of politics.

    If it’s to get millions more for news the money should be quarantined. None of it to go to political coverage, The Drum or QandA. It should all go to regional stations to meet the demands of emergency coverage – floods and fires etc – which is the just about the only thing the ABC does excellently these days.

  8. Mike Andrews

    ..and yet again under this current Managing Director, radio seems to miss out. Since Scott became M/D, radio has been decimated. Local programs are slowly disappearing. More cameras and fact checkers are not going to help the bush

  9. Cuppa

    I referred in my previous comment to right-wing favouritism in the ABC’s coverage of politics. This headline from today, February 08, 2013, illustrates my point:

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