Following news in early October that the ABC would cull its late night current affair program Lateline comes more bad news for the public broadcaster with 11 senior staff volunteering for redundancy.
Reports say the mood and morale at ABC HQ is far from conducive as its managing director, Michelle Guthrie, implements her plans to cut costs and move to a greater digital offering. The problem appears to be senior staff being replaced by more digital-savvy youngsters who are also paid far less.
Fairfax Media has reported “it’s a death by a thousand cuts” and quote an unnamed employee at the broadcaster who claims “morale is very shaky”.
The eleven staff who’ve taken management’s offer of voluntary redundancy include an AM current affairs reporter, senior news operations director and a senior 7.30 journalist. None have been named.
Under Guthrie, the ABC has not hidden its plans to have less figurehead reporters and journalists and more “foot soldiers” to break bigger stories, including more resources for regional areas. It also wants its websites to be the most read in Australia, with plans for its news site to topple News.com.au from its number one perch.
Fairfax quotes the unnamed employee as saying: “Who is going to fill their shoes?” TV and radio is a shrinking career path for people – the focus will be more and more on digital. The people being hired for digital are on lower salaries.
“Morale is very shaky and people are worried there will be more cuts. Are we supposed to be the most dominant news service in Australia, or offering specialist content, regional content as well as mainstream news?”