26 September 2023

ABC finds new money for journalists

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The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has announced that more than 50 journalistic roles are to be added to regional locations, following agreements entered with Facebook and Google.

Managing Director of the ABC, David Anderson said the Broadcaster entered commercial negotiations with the two companies following passage of the News Media Bargaining Code in February. He said revenue from the agreements would go towards increasing regional and rural journalism.

“We decided at the very start of these negotiations that any net revenue we received from these deals would go where it is needed most – and that is in regional Australia,” Mr Anderson said.”

“The ABC currently employs around 550 content makers in its 48 regional bureaux,” he said.

“The new roles created by this agreement represent an increase in the number of regional journalists of around 10 per cent.”

Mr Anderson said the ABC would place the additional journalists into areas where they were needed most and would have the most impact.

“We want to provide greater coverage of regional stories in areas that are under-served by the media or are in news deserts,” he said.

He said some positions would be located in existing ABC regional bureaux and others in areas that have not had an ABC presence before.

“Five ‘mini-bureaux’ will be trialled in Warragul, Batemans Bay, Carnarvon, Hervey Bay and Charleville,” Mr Anderson said.

He said individual reporters would be placed in Swan Hill, Whyalla, Victor Harbor, Northam and Gladstone where there were currently no ABC reporters and regional hubs that served large areas would get additional support in Horsham; Burnie; Dubbo; Wagga Wagga; Katherine; Esperance; Karratha; Longreach and Toowoomba.

He said reporters would also be embedded for limited times in other, more remote locations and several new national specialist rounds would be added to the ABC’s regional team, covering topics such as water, mining, social affairs and health.

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