There are more news sources avialable to Australians than ever before. The ABC sees that as justification for more money for the ABC to "compete"
The ABC's director of news, Kate Torney, said the public broadcaster had spent the past 18 months looking at how to best use its resources to cater for changing audience needs.
Its plans for an initial $10 million in funding and a further $30m in the May budget are complete, with the announcement last week of a 24-member national reporting team, after the establishment of a fact-checking unit; new metropolitan bureaux in Geelong, Ipswich and Parramatta; and more regional news reporters and improved equipment.
The ABC received 1500 applications for positions across all the new news initiatives. Among those moving to the ABC for the new 24-member national team, led by former producer with 7.30, Lateline and Four Corners Jo Puccini, are The Sydney Morning Herald's Linton Besser; The Age's Dan Oakes; and producers from TVNZ, the BBC and Ten's The Project . Tokyo correspondent Mark Willacy is returning to report from Brisbane.
The national team will be available to the entire ABC network as reporters, investigators and even support staff, raising concerns expressed privately by some ABC foreign correspondents that they are stretched brutally across many platforms.
"There's no doubt, across every single news organisation, changing audience demands have changed the demands on journalists," Torney said. "We've looked at the commissioning process and the kinds of support we can offer. It is a work in process and something we will be tweaking forever.
"The best thing we can do as a news organisation is build agility into our work culture.We have to have a focus across all our platforms rather than just have a broadcast focus."
Torney said the 7pm ABC news bulletin, viewed by more than one million people nationally each night, was undergoing changes.
"Then, there was a large portion of people who hadn't seen any news before they tuned in at seven," Torney said. "Now, that's not the case.