The ABC has moved to boost its news-breaking credentials by poaching top reporters from Fairfax, News Corporation and overseas networks to join a new national reporting team. Top foreign correspondents are also being reassigned to national news duties.
Journalists joining the ABC’s team include Sydney Morning Herald investigative reporter Linton Besser, The Age‘s crime editor Dan Oakes and Courier-Mail senior reporter Mark Solomons. Foreign Correspondent reporter Trevor Bormann — who broke the Prisoner X story — and Tokyo correspondent Mark Willacy are also joining the national reporting team.
The 24-member team — funded through a $10 million ABC budget boost announced in February — will be led by former Media Watch executive producer Jo Puccini. The team, which includes nine external hires, will file across TV, radio and online.
Bormann and Besser will report from Sydney; Oakes will file from Melbourne; Willacy will work alongside Solomons in Brisbane. Andrea Jonson, formerly of the BBC and Seven Network, has been hired as a Sydney producer while TVNZ producer Dale Owens will work in the ABC’s Perth bureau.
The loss of the Walkley Award-winning Besser is a blow for the SMH given his record exposing Eddie Obeid’s front companies, lavish Defence Force spending and the secretive NSW Crime Commission.
The full ABC National News Reporting team is:
- Editor: Jo Puccini (ABC 7.30)
- Co-ordinating producer: Pip Quinn (ABC Newsgathering Desk)
- Production manager: Kylene Anderson
- Brisbane reporter: Mark Willacy (ABC Tokyo)
- Brisbane producer: Mark Solomons (The Courier-Mail)
- Sydney reporters: Trevor Bormann (ABC Foreign Correspondent) and Linton Besser (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Sydney producers: Alison McClymont (ABC Radio Current Affairs) and Andrea Jonson (BBC/Channel 7)
- Melbourne reporter: Daniel Oakes (The Age)
- Melbourne producer: Sam Clark (Channel Ten’s The Project)
- Perth producer: Dale Owens (TVNZ’s Sunday)
- Darwin reporter: Michael Coggan (ABC Darwin)
- Defence and national security: Michael Brissenden
- Health: Sophie Scott
- Technology: Jake Sturmer
- Arts: Anne Maria Nicholson
- Social affairs: Sally Sara
- Finance: Phil Lasker
- Rural and regional: Peter Lewis
- Consumer affairs: Amy Bainbridge
- Resources: Sue Lannin
- Researchers: Alison Branley (The Newcastle Herald) and Suzanne Dredge (Koori Radio)