ABC operations

ABC Chief People Officer Dharma Chandran

The ABC’s Chief People Office (CPO), Dharma Chandran, has advised the ABC he will leave the Corporation at the end of January 2024. At that time Dharma will have served two-and-a-half-years in the CPO role.

Mr Chandran joined the ABC in October 2021 as CPO after a lengthy and successful career in consulting, corporate and board roles.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson paid tribute to Mr Chandran’s contribution to the organisation during a challenging period.

“During his time at the ABC Dharma has made a significant contribution by leading People & Culture as they supported the organisation through the transition from COVID-19 restrictive conditions to hybrid working,” Mr Anderson said.

“Dharma has also led a number of significant ABC initiatives and projects, including People Hub Workforce; negotiation of our new Enterprise Agreement; our new Diversity & Inclusion Belonging (DIB) Plan; and support with the Content Reorganisation initiative.

“Dharma has been an experienced and trusted voice as part of the ABC Leadership Team. He has also invested significant time and effort leading our People & Culture function, leveraging his considerable experience.

“We are grateful that Dharma has provided us with sufficient notice of his departure to enable full implementation of the initiatives mentioned above and to ensure a smooth transition with his replacement in the CPO role.

“Dharma has mentioned to me that he has enjoyed his experience with the ABC and has learned a great deal. I would like to thank Dharma for his contribution to the ABC and leadership of the People & Culture function at a crucial time for the ABC.”

The recruitment process will commence shortly, and we anticipate completing it before the end of this year.

The ABC searches for Australia’s favourite animal sound this National Science Week

This National Science Week (August 12-20), the ABC is asking audiences to listen to the world around us as we explore the science of sound and search for Australia’s favourite animal noise.

Audiences can now vote for their favourite animal sound on the ABC Science website. During National Science Week we’ll be finding out more about some of the animals up for the top spot with the winner announced on Friday August 18 in a live “count down” blog on the ABC News website.

ABC Chief Content Officer Chris Oliver-Taylor said: “We’re delighted to be bringing our audience a range of content around the science of sound this National Science Week. The ABC plays such an important role in educating and entertaining all Australian’s and to be able to celebrate the science of sound across Radio National, Catalyst, Play School, triple j as well as original content on ABC Listen and ABC iview is something we our incredibly proud of.”

Across our platforms we’ll also be celebrating Science Week with content exploring the soundscapes of our lives. We’re looking at urban noise and its impact on our mental health, visiting the quietest places in Australia and investigating the science of how sounds are made.

National Science Week highlights

Catalyst – The Soundtrack of Australia

Two-part Catalyst special: Tuesday August 15, and Tuesday August 22 at 8.30pm on ABC and ABC iview

Australia is a stunning country but we seldom tune in our ears to how it sounds.

In this two-part special, Dr Ann Jones is on an odyssey to gather iconic recordings of Australia and explore how they’re made, what messages they carry and how humans are harnessing the power of sound.

Play School: World By Night

Play School: World By Night starts Monday 14 August, airing weekdays at 9am on ABC Kids and ABC iview.

When the sun goes down, the world comes alive in many ways! Put on your cosy jammies and snuggle in for the Play School: World By Night series, exploring bedtime routines, nocturnal animals and bustling cities after dark. With special guests, Kirsten the astronomer and ‘Diva’ the barn owl, there’s plenty to see once day turns to night!

Science With Dr KarlThursday 17 August on triple j and ABC listen

In a special episode of Science with Dr Karl, Australia’s favourite Doctor and triple j’s Lucy Smith explore the physics of sound.

Nature Track

New episode Monday 14 August on ABC listen

A special Science Week episode of the Nature Track podcast will showcase the beautiful “Soundtrack of Australia” as recorded by Dr Ann Jones during the filming of the two-part Catalyst special.

Nature Track opens a window on the beautiful sounds of the Australian wilderness, with long, uninterrupted soundscapes that are perfect for work, exercise, meditation or sleep. Each unique track is carefully recorded on location in a different part of Australia.

ABC RN

A world of sound and noise will feature across ABC RN’s science shows and beyond, including an examination of hearing and dementia on the Health Report, a story of “acoustic restoration” on Future Tense, and a special episode of All In The Mind about the songs we sing our babies.

ABC Kids listen

Nature nerd Ann is back with a brand new season of Noisy by Nature. The 10 new episodes will be releasing weekly from Tuesday the 8th of August, with journeys to the red centre, Tasmanian cliffs, lush rainforests and heaps more. Perfect for all sound detectives, young and old!

News Time will also be spotlighting science week with a countdown of the top five kid-friendly science stories and a special shoutout to ABC’s quest to find Australia’s favourite nature noise.

ABC iview Collections

ABC Science programming: https://iview.abc.net.au/category/science

Science Week with the Family: Science Week with the Family : ABC iview

ABC ME: Science Week : ABC iview

ABC Kids “Full Steam Ahead: It’s Science Week!”: Science Week - Full Steam Ahead : ABC iview

Online

ABC Science

A suite of special digital content will celebrate the science of Australia’s soundscapes, including an animal noise quiz, stories on the ecological role and the evolution of hearing, and a beautiful interactive feature on the superb lyrebird.

Social

ABC accounts on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok will showcase ABC personalities and their favourite Aussie animal sounds – as well as quizzing the Australian public on their knowledge of our noisiest animal neighbours.

During National Science Week and beyond, the ABC is your home to the best science news, stories and features from across Australia. Stay up to date on all things science at abc.net.au/news/science.

UPDATED

Leigh Sales to deliver 2023 Andrew Olle Media Lecture

ABC journalist and author, Leigh Sales AM, will deliver the 2023 Andrew Olle Media Lecture.

The lecture will be held in Sydney on Friday 27 October.

Leigh is one of Australia’s most respected journalists and the presenter of ABC TV’s Australian Story.

During her award-winning career, she has interviewed dozens of world leaders and celebrities, including Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, the Dalai Lama, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Bill Gates, and every living Australian Prime Minister.

Leigh has worked extensively in the field as a general news reporter and as the ABC’s Washington correspondent for the tumultuous four years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On her return to Australia, she anchored the ABC’s flagship current affairs program 7.30 as well as the last three federal elections.

Leigh is the winner of three Walkley Awards; the author of the books Detainee 002, On Doubt, Well Hello and the recently released Storytellers: Questions, Answers and the Story of Journalism, as well as the bestselling Any Ordinary Day. She is also the co-host of the popular podcast Chat 10 Looks 3 with Annabel Crabb. In 2023, her service to journalism and the community was recognised with two honorary doctorates from Edith Cowan University and the Queensland University of Technology.

“We are at a juncture in journalism where Andrew Olle’s values are more essential than ever – fairness, impartiality, accuracy, precision but even more than that, empathy and humility,” Leigh said.

“It’s an incredible honour to be asked to deliver this lecture in his shadow and to remember the best ways for journalism to win and hold the public’s trust.”​

Managing Director of the ABC, David Anderson, said there was never a more important time to endorse the crucial role public interest journalism plays in Australian life.

“Leigh has had extensive experience as a reporter and presenter, both here and overseas, which has given her unique insights into the importance of public interest journalism across all media and the changing face of news and information brought about by the rise of social media.”

“I am looking forward to Leigh’s thought-provoking and timely take on the key issues facing the Australian media and a glimpse of what is to come.”

Previous Andrew Olle Media Lecture speakers include ABC Chair Ita Buttrose AC OBE, Peter FitzSimons, Lisa Wilkinson, Caroline Wilson, Joseph Kahn, Waleed Aly, Helen McCabe, Kate McClymont, Mark Colvin, Laurie Oakes, Ray Martin AM, John Hartigan, John Doyle AM, Lachlan Murdoch, Kerry Stokes AC and Jana Wendt.

The lecture is held in honour of one of the ABC’s iconic broadcasters, Andrew Olle. It will be delivered at a black-tie dinner at Doltone House, Hyde Park, Sydney on Friday 27 October. ABC Radio Sydney Drive presenter Richard Glover will host the evening.

Tickets are available Andrew Olle Media Lecture 2023 – ABC Sydney.

The Andrew Olle Media Lecture will be broadcast nationally on Nightlife on Friday 27 October from 11.00pm on ABC Radio. The lecture will also be available on the ABC News channel and ABC iview, with times to be announced.

Successful Teams for Fresh Blood 3 announced

The ABC and Screen Australia are delighted to announce the 10 successful teams for the 2023 Fresh Blood initiative.

Fresh Blood has been the launchpad for the careers of some of Australia’s best comedy writers, directors, and performers.

The teams were selected from more than 400 entrants, and each has received $50,000 to make three comedy shorts of 3 x 5 – minutes duration. The teams are currently taking part in workshops in Sydney.

The shorts will premiere on the ABC’s and creators’ social media platforms. Up to three projects will then be selected by the ABC and Screen Australia to make a longer pilot between 20-27 minutes, with the potential to be commissioned by the ABC as a series.

Fresh Blood has helped launch the careers of comedians such as Aunty Donna, Nina Oyama, Freudian Nip, Fancy Boy, Michael Cusack and Skit Box.

Rachel Millar, the ABC’s Acting Head of Entertainment said: “The standard of applications submitted for Fresh Blood 3 has truly knocked our socks off, and narrowing the field to a top ten was a serious challenge. The ABC is thrilled to be running this initiative again in partnership with Screen Australia, and we can’t wait to see what the next generation of comedy creators comes up with. Bring on the lols.”

Lee Naimo, Screen Australia Head of Online and Games said: “Fresh Blood has a strong legacy of supporting new comedy creators, and it’s genuinely exciting to be able partner with the ABC again to develop these entertaining projects from these talented teams. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of this year’s cohort.”

The 2023 Fresh Blood 3 projects are:

BAD ANCESTORS

Team: Wendy Mocke, Rizcel Gagawanan, Jessica Magro and Enoch Mailangi

Synopsis: Best Friends Norah and Charli must spend their afterlife providing ancestral guidance to young black people.

DAY JOB

Team: Paul Georghiou, Brooke Kymberley, Todor Manojlovic and Heather Riley
Synopsis: Day Job is an animated documentary that follows the lives of the over-qualified young staff of a dingy local bowling alley. Watch as that dream life of passion, love and career triumph always narrowly eludes them. But that stack of used bowling shoes is always there for them, just waiting to be cleaned.

FINE ART

Team: Emma Holland and Xavier Hazard

Synopsis: Kooky children’s art presenter Emma struggles to teach morals to a new generation through the joy of crafting, as the puppets, set, and even herself, derail the show in increasingly unsettling sketches (for adults only).

GOING UNDER

Team: Danielle Walker, Lauren Bonner and Megan Wilding

Synopsis: Going Under is about the people of Gowa, a town that will go underwater in 10 years. The series revolves around Katie and Sam, two girls who were childhood best friends but whose lives took them in different directions… Katie works as a journalist in the big smoke and has gone back to her hometown to document what the locals are going through as their town slowly goes under.

I’M SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS

Team: Annie Louey, Jemma Cotter, Joshua Ladgrove, Oscar Axel Thorborg, Annie Thiele

Synopsis: After her father dies unexpectedly, Annie lands a job at a funeral home in an attempt to gain closure. The shambolic small business, run by her dysfunctional boss Naaman, opens Annie’s eyes to the bizarre world of funerals.

KINGSLAND

Team: Josh Yasserie George Coles and Jon Rex Williams

Synopsis: Reg, a hot-headed animated First Nations man living in real-world Redfern, gets evicted from his home and goes in search of his place of belonging (which he can’t remember) guided only by the spirit of his late wife Agnes and Wiiny: a little gum-stoned furry flirt who he can’t understand.

WESTERNERS

Team: Munasib Hamid, Miski Omar, Kevin Jin, Shehryar Hussain & Ayeesha Ash

Synopsis: A surrealist comedy-drama that follows three young adults of the diaspora that move out from the Western Suburbs of Sydney to the Inner West in need of the freedom to express their inner realities. Always finding themselves walking the wire between worlds; their families, their inner monologue and the world around them, they face a set of absurd and hilarious circumstances.

RUBY RAI

Team: Vidya Rajan, Nicholas Colla and Elyce Phillips

Synopsis: Ruby Rai is a down-and-out Private Investigator… which is exactly how she likes it. But it’s not easy being your best hard-boiled self when inept co-workers, meddlesome family, and the endless weirdos (clients and ex-lovers) of the big city are waiting to thwart your every turn.

STARSHIP Q STAR

Team: Lauren Anderson, Meegan May and Lena Moon

When a tone-deaf space agency sends the ‘first all-woman and non-binary crew’ on a PR mission to Mars, they inadvertently end up the last six humans in the universe.

URVI WENT TO AN ALL GIRLS SCHOOL

Team: Urvi Majumdar, Sophie Braham, Michelle Buxton, Rohan Ganju, Suren Jayemanne, Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, Chris McDonald, Nina Oyama, and Sashi Perera

Synopsis: In 2010 Melbourne, a nerdy Indian girl struggles to fit in and find love amidst her parents’ traditional expectations and in the heightened, competitive environment of an elite academic all girls’ school.

For further information about the Fresh Blood initiative please visit the Fresh Blood website or read the guidelines.

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ABC Statement on X (Twitter)

The ABC has decided to further reduce our activity on X (formerly known as Twitter) and focus our effort on the accounts that overwhelmingly provide the most value.

These are:

  • ABC News (@abcnews). This account drives the majority of the ABC’s impact on X and will continue to publish news from Australia’s most trusted news source.
  • ABC Sport (@abcsport). Sport remains a popular genre on X, with Australian sports fans engaging with sports content before, during and after games on the platform. @abcsport will continue to be the home of our daily sports conversation on the platform.
  • ABC Chinese (@abcchinese). The ABC reflects contemporary Australia which includes creating informative, educational and entertaining content that is relevant, relatable, and inclusive for Australians with different backgrounds and interests. @abcchinese reaches Chinese speaking audiences on Twitter.
  • ABC Australia (@abcaustralia). The ABC’s masterbrand account will showcase the breadth and depth of ABC content, as well as being a home for official news, statements and other programming information from the ABC.

All other ABC accounts will be discontinued starting from today. The accounts will have pinned posts informing users where they can access relevant content.

There are multiple reasons for this decision. In February the ABC closed three program accounts and the results from that have been positive, with negligible reduction in referral traffic from Twitter to ABC content.

The vast majority of the ABC’s social media audience is located on other platforms and we want to focus our effort and resources where our audiences are.

X is introducing charges which are making the platform increasingly costly to use.

Also, we have found that closing individual program accounts helps limit the exposure of team members to the sometimes toxic interactions that unfortunately are becoming more prevalent. Concerningly, X has reduced its trust and safety teams.

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Don’t really care, they can do what they want. But I can still see many accounts that are up, plus this was obviously a snap decision as there were still stories and engagements being posted today. Also, bad call to close @abcemergency. Now restricting the emergency communication ability. Weird to keep @abcchinese as one of four.

Also the accounts I went on to see which had been closed all seemed to have little-to-no engagement, so I don’t know where this “negativity” is coming from?

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It’s also a bad call to close the @abctv account and the X accounts of shows like Four Corners and Foreign Correspondent. As the press release states, @abcaustralia is the home for official news and statements, and should be kept that way. Now the programming changes and promos will go through the same account.

I guess spreading emergency information through analogue radio and other forms of social media is quicker?

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Maybe, but why restrict the ability to give out emergency information through tweets (is it xs now?)?

I don’t disagree but I think some emergency services in the US have scaled back using Twitter/X for emergency information because it is an increasingly unreliable platform for disseminating timely information.

It is interesting the ABC quotes that Twitter/X is imposing prohibitive charges to use the platform. I am curious, what are they being charged for? Is this a normal thing for Twitter to charge corporate or media accounts?

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I believe the base subscription for an organisation to be verified in Australia is AU$1,500 per month. There is an extra cost for sub accounts of AU$75.

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The shift in the way that official/verified accounts are recognised really spelled the end of the use of the platform to disseminate news in any official manner.

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I know their rate limiting really screwed with the usefulness of it, so not only for the main accounts but say someone who is just monitoring a local radio account’s mentions or hashtags, etc. on tweetdeck would suddenly need to pay - and likely at that higher ‘company’ rate rather than just a personal blue sub.

There’d be dozens of staff that would have ‘monitor socials’ as part of their job, actively being on the platform encourages people to post there, and checking their posts costs money.

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Musk appears to respond:

Well of course they prefer censorship-friendly social media.

The Australian public does not.

Elon Musk has accused the ABC of embracing censorship after Australia’s public broadcaster drastically reduced its presence on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Something that DM calls “brutal”.

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ABC Ombudsman Six-month Report

The ABC Ombudsman, Fiona Cameron, today released her first public report outlining complaint statistics and a new complaint process.

“At the core of the establishment of the Ombudsman’s Office is greater transparency, accountability and visibility and this report endeavours to deliver on all three,” Ms Cameron said.

“The ABC strives to be adventurous, brave and creative and such principles will solicit strong reactions. Complaints are very much part of this process and are welcomed and encouraged.” she said.

Over the three-year period up until the end of 2022, total complaints averaged 23,767. The majority (85%) relate to general complaints about matters of personal taste and preference and the balance (15%) relate to specific ABC content which concerns the ABC’s editorial standard’s.

70% of content complaints fell into the categories of balance (5%), bias (37%) and factual inaccuracy (28%).

The most complained about platform was News Online given its reach and the extent to which it is shared across social networks. The 7pm News, 7.30, News Breakfast and Q+A rounded out the top five complained about programs.

The report sets out changes to the ABC’s complaint processes headlined by the appointment of an Ombudsman reporting to the Board and the establishment of an internal review mechanisms where complainants who remain unsatisfied with a response from the ABC may seek an Ombudsman review.

The report can be found here.

Includes

Programs most complained about

Over the last three-years the following programs or platforms have attracted the most content complaints. The vast majority of these complaints come from news online, which, of course, is prolific in publishing and reformatting articles from across the network. News online is readily accessible and regularly shared across social networks. Nearly half of all these complaints are about factual accuracy and are usually easy to resolve or dispel. Of the 2474 News Online issues complained about, 39% (956) were investigated and of these 401 issues were either resolved (368) or found to be in breach (33).

Complaints relating to themes can be difficult to isolate as they relate to a variety of different ABC programs, but invariably complaint themes include bias and factual accuracy relating to different political parties, conflicts in the middle east and in the last three years, COVID-19. In regard to the latter, approximately 2,000 content complaints were recorded from 2020 to the end of 2022. These were about a very wide range of ABC content across various programs and platforms. They included accuracy concerns, allegations that ABC content was biased towards or against government health advice, that anti-vaccination perspectives were presented without being adequately challenged, to name a few.

In the 6 months from January to June 2023, the largest number of content complaints (including campaigns) relate to the following.

  • ABC News Online - 394 complaints, 72% were either claims of inaccuracies of allegations of bias on a wide variety of topics.

  • 7.30 - 137 complaints, including 51 that an interview with Russia’s Ambassador to Australia displayed anti-Russian bias and 20 that an interview with the Victorian Opposition leader defamed a Melbourne woman for her role in the Let Women Speak

  • event (the woman had not actually been named in the segment). No breach of editorial standards was identified in either item.

  • Landline - 86 complaints alleging industry bias in coverage of the live export trade. Landline broadcast a series of three stories on this topic where arguments for and against the live sheep export trade were covered. A comprehensive response was provided to complainants directly from the content team.

  • 7pm TV News - 76 content complaints, the vast majority about accuracy, impartiality or inappropriate content.

  • The Coronation of King Charles Ill - 66 content complaints were handled by the Ombudsman’s Office and a link to the investigation report is provided below. In total the ABC received 1,996 written complaints about this matter with the majority questioning the ABC’s judgement for scheduling a panel discussion (rather than commentating directly on the proceedings) against the backdrop of guests entering the Abbey.

  • Insiders- 48 complaints, the majority regarding comments made by an ABC journalist describing the beliefs and motivations of some people who protest on Australia day. This matter was handled directly by ABC News who published a statement on the Corrections and Clarifications page stating that the journalist was describing the beliefs of some protesters and their motivations, not the ABC’s.

  • ABC News Twitter - 40 content complaints that a since-deleted tweet about the shooting of a Palestinian girl on a rooftop was racist and /or displayed anti-Palestinian bias. The Ombudsman’s Office referred the complaints to the relevant content team for direct handling given that the tweet had already been deleted and the story reposted with a new headline.

100 percent of those complaints probably from sky news viewers or liberal supporters .

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When you employ political activists as journalists you get that. ABC and other news outlets need to re-instate journalism cadetships and not just employ young Uni grads who have had to write PC essays and exam answers to enable them to pass.

I think you mean sky news have political activist journalists.

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Sky definitely do too, so the ABC is not alone. Sky should also offer a few cadetships. Sky do offer a defacto start for some newcomers with their guest liaison officer jobs at their TOS studio’s.

It is quite common for commercial radio and TV staffers to apply for ABC job title vacancies they have experience in and have their applications binned multiple times. ABC seem to prefer Uni grads to experienced commercial broadcasting people who have lower academic qualifications. That just leads to the groupthink that colours ABC journalism.