ABC operations

ABC asks Australians to give 90 minutes of kindness to mark 90 years

The ABC is inviting Australians to give to their communities by volunteering their time to help those less fortunate.

The campaign #ABC90for90 was launched during National Volunteering Week and plays a central role in the ABC’s celebrations to mark the broadcaster’s 90th year.

Director of ABC Regional and Local, Judith Whelan, said the organisation was asking Australians to pledge 90 minutes to a cause of their choice to help neighbours, friends, families or anyone in need in the community.

“Volunteers play a vital role in our community and through the pandemic we have seen formal participation rates drop by as much as 30 per cent,” she said. “In this, our 90th year, we have the opportunity to use our role in connecting communities to help encourage a return of community volunteering.”

Ms Whelan said the ABC had set a national target of 500,000 volunteer minutes pledged.

“We’re asking Australians to get creative, to come together and to give kindness to those in those in their communities who need it most, either in a formal way through volunteer organisations or informally.”

ABC Radio has partnered with Volunteering Australia with the campaign running until the ABC’s official birthday on Friday 1 July 2022. To pledge your support, go to abc.net.au/gives.

The ABC is marking its 90th year with dedicated programming on its television, radio, online and social media platforms.

A key event will be a live 2 hour entertainment television special ABC 90 Celebrate! which will air from 8.00pm on Thursday 30 June 2022. The program will feature an ensemble cast of ABC presenters along with familiar faces from the past who will connect to capital cities around the country and regional locations.

Tuned In – 90 years of ABC Radio is a 55- minute radio special to air from 11am on Friday 1 July across ABC local and regional radio. Hosted by Richard Fidler with familiar voices across the spectrum of our networks, the special will tell the story of ABC radio as it celebrates key radio moments and the audience connection developed over 90 years. Tune in for rare archival audio, voices from the past and the moments that defined ABC radio.

How much funding are we going to see return to the ABC now with a new Government?

Labor has previously said it will hand down a new Federal Budget later this year if it wins the election. Maybe we will see additional funding for the ABC?

Labor and Liberals both promised to remove the indexation freeze, this will effectively increase funding by $84M. Labor have also promised to shift to a 5 yeat funding model rather than the current triennial funding. The current triennial ends in Jume this year.

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I wonder if we’ll see the return of funding and resources for broadcasting in the Asia / Pacific region?

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What are the ABC’s plans with this extra funding?

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Produce more homegrown docomentaries and commission more dramas as well

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AIDC & ABC announce return of Indigenous Documentary Placement

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in partnership with the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) are pleased to open applications for the Indigenous Documentary Placement program for 2022, with a submission deadline of Friday 1 July 2022.

Now in its second year, the Indigenous Documentary Placement is designed to provide one mid-career Indigenous practitioner with a unique opportunity to undertake an extended placement with the ABC, Australia’s largest public broadcaster.

The successful applicant will be embedded in the ABC for a period of four months based in Sydney. The placement’s goal is to provide the practitioner with the opportunity to develop their skills in documentary and/or factual development and production within the context of a public broadcaster with a broader view towards creating employment pathways.

The placement will commence with the ABC in mid-August 2022. The successful candidate will receive an equivalent annual producer level salary of up to $94,620 per annum which equates to approximately $40,000 for four months inclusive of statutory superannuation contributions. The participant will be contracted by the ABC. Practitioners from all states are welcome to apply and may be eligible to seek some additional relocation support from their relevant state film agency.

ABC Director Entertainment & Specialist, Michael Carrington , said, “I am thrilled to be announcing the next round of the Indigenous Documentary Placement Initiative following the incredible success of the initial placement. This important initiative is an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers to gain invaluable industry experience as part of our Factual and Culture Team and supports the ABC’s commitment to foster greater diversity of voices in the Australian screen sector.”

On its launch in 2021, the first recipient of the Indigenous Documentary Placement program was award-winning filmmaker, and descendent of the Yuin and Awabakal nations, Daniel King.

Daniel King said, “I had a really successful and positive experience at the ABC as part of the Indigenous Documentary Placement. I was able to produce a story for Artworks , and a story for Catalyst online and spent time in the commissioning team. I felt highly supported throughout my placement and the ABC has continued to support my career through ongoing work, including recently producing a story for ABC art online and directing an episode of an upcoming factual series for broadcast”

Daniel King is currently in pre-production for his second feature length documentary titled Her Name Is Nanny Nellie , for NITV.

In welcoming the return of the program, AIDC CEO / Creative Director, Natasha Gadd , said, “AIDC is committed to creating opportunities for First Nations practitioners that result in new creative outcomes and career pathways. The inaugural Indigenous Documentary placement did just that with 2021 recipient, Daniel King, producing stories for ABC’s Catalyst and Artworks as well as producing and directing a number of exciting new ABC programs since completing the placement. We’re excited to follow Daniel’s career as he embarks on his next feature documentary and are delighted to be collaborating with ABC again to provide this incredible opportunity for another mid-career Indigenous storyteller.”

All Indigenous practitioners interested in the placement are invited to attend a virtual information session hosted by Kelrick Martin (Head of Indigenous, ABC) on Friday 17 June 11:00-12:00 (AEST) . The information session will provide practitioners with an opportunity to learn more about the placement from ABC representatives, to ask questions, and hear from filmmaker Daniel King, the recipient of the 2022 Indigenous Documentary Placement.

Applicant enquiries about the 2022 Indigenous Documentary Placement should be directed to Kelrick Martin, Head of Indigenous, ABC: martin.kelrick@abc.net.au

Applications for the 2022 Indigenous Documentary Placement are open now at https://www.aidc.com.au/initiatives/indigenous-documentary-placement . Submissions close 23:59 AEST Friday 1 July.

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Archivists and librarians at the ABC are in shock after management unveiled plans to abolish 58 positions and make journalists research and archive their own stories.

Reporters and producers working on breaking news, news programs and daily programs like 7.30 will have to search for archival material themselves and will be expected to log the metadata of any new material into the system.

Sources told Guardian Australia there are a further 17 contract positions in archives that will be abolished and that many of the archive staff affected are based in regional areas.

The research library staff will continue to help investigative programs like Four Corners and Background Briefing, but will not be available to assist daily news or ABC co-productions.

A further four positions will be made redundant in TV post-production as the roles are being replaced with automatic services.

“These proposed changes are the result of the extensive digitisation of the ABC Archive collection and the introduction of new tools and systems which enables different, more efficient work practices,” a spokesperson said.

ABC Archives Proposal for Change

The ABC has announced a proposal to make some organisational changes to the ABC Archives.

These proposed changes are the result of the extensive digitisation of the ABC Archive collection and the introduction of new tools and systems which enables different, more efficient work practices.

In 2021, approximately 90% of our audio and 35% of our video tape collection was converted into digital files. More than two million content assets are now available to content makers at their desktops via the ABC’s Content Digital Archive (CoDA).

The key reasons for the proposed changes are:

  • The ABC is transforming into a digital-first media organisation.
  • Technology now enables more efficient content collection, management, discovery and reuse.
  • We can therefore redesign the way we work to better support content makers as they serve changing audience needs.
  • This means some roles are no longer required but also provides opportunities to develop new skills and create new and evolved roles.

The ABC is proposing to remove approximately 58 roles and introduce 30 new roles. The final number of redundancies is yet to be determined as we work through consultation. In accordance with the ABC Enterprise Agreement, staff were offered the opportunity to express an interest in a redundancy late last month and can continue do so until late next week. ABC management will consider these requests as part of its consultation process.

Statement from ABC Managing Director, David Anderson: ABC Archives

ABC Archives is an asset of national importance and the ABC will always protect it.

The digitisation of ABC Archives is designed to protect our national heritage and make it more accessible for content makers and all Australians.

The ABC’s digitisation work undertaken in the past two years represents one of the largest projects in terms of scale and duration of its kind. It ensures the ABC’s highly valuable and sometimes fragile content is preserved for future generations. It also ensures this content is now more searchable than ever before.

Before undertaking this important project we engaged with similar organisations that have already completed or are in the process of preserving their legacy media collections, including the National Archives of Australia, the BBC and CBC.

Already approximately 90% of our audio and 35% of our cassette-format video tape content that is high value and high risk has been converted into digital files. We have also digitised all one-inch and Umatic tapes, so in total 60% of our videotape holdings is now available on digital formats.

By the end of this year 1.2 million documents, 637,000 images, 97,000 videotapes and 54,000 audio carriers will have been digitised.

The ABC has for several years been transitioning to a digital-first media organisation.

This week we announced to employees a proposal to make changes to the ABC Archives team. I can assure all Australians that the proposed changes would not in any way affect the quality of the Archives’ content, now or into the future.

The proposed changes to the management of the ABC Archives and news library would include introducing several new technological platforms to ensure accessibility.

We are confident the proposed changes would not compromise the Archives team’s ability to provide appropriate services to content makers. Following the proposed changes, the ABC’s archives and library services would employ around 70 people.

There would continue to be highly-skilled Archives staff based in newsrooms and assisting and supporting our content teams, and they would remain responsible for the archiving of raw material.

Safeguarding the ABC Archives, making it fully accessible and more easily usable are part of responsible stewardship of this wonderful resource.

ABC farewells Director Entertainment & Specialist Michael Carrington

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The ABC Director Entertainment & Specialist Michael Carrington has announced he will leave the corporation in July to return to the production sector.

Michael joined the ABC in 2016 with an international reputation in the industry as a creative and trusted leader with a clear understanding of audience needs. Bluey , Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds , Fisk and The Newsreader are just some of the successful programs Michael has commissioned.

His leadership in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the launch of the $5 million Fresh Start Fund, which supported more than 200 Australian productions and new content ideas, an initiative that provided vital support to the industry when it needed it most. Under Michael, ABC iview grew stronger as an important service for Australians everywhere who demanded entertaining, informative and educational programs.

Michael was the key driving force behind the 2021 release of the ABC Diversity and Inclusion Commissioning Guidelines, ensuring more diverse faces, voices, cultures and stories are reflected and represented on screen.

ABC programs have claimed an impressive number of national and international awards in recent years, including AACTA Awards, Emmys, Logies, New York Festivals TV and Film Awards, and Walkley Awards.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson congratulated Michael on his achievements during his time at the ABC and the many contributions he has made.

“Michael is a thoughtful, inclusive and creative leader, and the impact of his decisions can be seen in the vibrant range of programs the ABC has delivered to audiences under his guidance.

“Many of those decisions were made in response to the COVID pandemic and Michael showed great leadership during this time.

“Michael is highly regarded and I know everyone at the ABC wishes him well with the next step in his already dynamic career.”

Michael Carrington said: “We have built a strong foundation to connect with and build new audiences, including strengthening our creative teams, aligning our linear and digital platforms, evolving ABC iview, improving our operations, and most importantly launching a long list of new and compelling Australian content.”

Michael added: “In 2020, the ABC announced a five-year-plan to transform from a traditional broadcaster to the nation’s most trusted and valued digital content provider across all platforms. That plan is on track – I am proud of the contribution the whole team in E&S has made and I thank them for their dedication.

“I also owe a huge thank you to the world-class independent producers, writers, and performers I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years. The ABC will always be an inspiration to me, and I am grateful to have had this experience.”

During his tenure, Michael was responsible for reorganising Entertainment and Specialist into a leaner audience-focussed content supplier and curator.

The existing leadership team, which will report to Jennifer Collins as Acting Director Entertainment and Specialist during the transition period, will continue to drive E&S content development, commissioning, and distribution forward.

ABC chair Ita Buttrose delivered the 2022 Andrew Olle Media Lecture in Sydney last night. The program will be shown on ABC TV at 2pm today.

EDIT: transcript of Ita’s speech

ABC comment on China coverage

The ABC has issued this comment in response to media requests this morning.

There are no ABC “directives” on coverage of China.

Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian last week visited the ABC News Ultimo headquarters. Such meetings are a normal occurrence; recently the ABC has also hosted visits by the Israeli Ambassador and a representative of the US Embassy.

The ABC has asked to return a correspondent to Beijing. The ABC has had a permanent presence in China for almost 50 years – one of the longest international media presences in China. We firmly believe that the story of China and the Chinese people — which is a crucial part of the story of what is happening in the Asia Pacific — is best told from on the ground rather than from afar.

The ABC told the Ambassador that the ABC is an independent media organisation that represents the interests of Australian audiences and that we look forward to furthering discussions in coming weeks.

Subsequently, Dr Malcolm Davis from ASPI was interviewed on RN’s Saturday Extra program on the topic of solar in space. Before the interview the producer explained that Greg Sheridan had just been on that morning’s program talking about the Chinese Ambassador’s speech, including making criticisms of China. The intention for this story was to remain focussed on the technology of space solar, and not further discussion of geopolitics. Unfortunately it appears this was misconstrued as being a request to “not criticise China”, which was not the intention. We have contacted Dr Davis to clarify.

The special will also be broadcast on Radio National on Friday 1 July from 11am to midday, and replayed on ABC News Radio at 9pm AEST on the same day. It will also be available for catch up on the ABC Listen app.

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