ABC 24 - The Real Cost?
I love ABC 24. I love that I can get real television news when I want it (FYI, CH7, 9, & 10: if it involves a celebrity, it probably isn’t “news”); I love watching Question Time; I think “The Drum” is actually quite good (and not just because Steve Cannane and Annabel Crabb are a bit hot). I can’t afford cable, so Sky News is not an option. I think it is quite amusing that Sky and the Murdoch Press are so threatened by the newcomer: and not a little ironic, given their ideological support of “competition” as an economic panacea.
Nevertheless, I share their concern that the already stretched ABC has launched this venture with no new funding. Unlike the Murdoch hacks I don’t see a problem with recycling and repurposing material from the ABC’s existing services (how much of The Australian is recycled from other Murdoch sources?), but the claim that the channel will spread already stressed journalists too thin has the ring of truth.
A piece in today’s Crikey by Jason Whittaker (paywalled, but you can sign up for a free trial) talks about the pressure on correspondents in foreign bureaus to provide original and quality reporting with fewer supporting staff. This stretching is affecting other ABC services as well, it is argued. This is in the face of mooted staff cuts in selected overseas bureaus.
Journalist and academic, Margaret Simons, has a proposal on YouCommNews, the subscriber-supported journalism site, to fund an FOI request into ABC 24’s budget: again, with concern that resources are being spread too thinly.
I think I might offer Margaret a crisp $20 note to help her with that investigation, and I would encourage you to do so as well.