Yesterday the ABC released upbeat news about the opening of a new News bureau in Kabul.
Today it finds itself at the centre of a staffing fury with revelations that it is axing support staff for foreign correspondents.
The Australian reports that ABC is sacking some translators, researchers and ‘fixers’ (local experts) while closing down their stand-alone bureaus in a bid to save costs.
Several of the ABC’s independent bureaus, including London, the Middle East, Bangkok, Tokyo and Moscow, will be shut down and the correspondents made to work out of rented office space in AP offices and share the agency’s support staff.
One source tells the newspaper, “They will be shoved in a corner in a commercial news agency.”
There are fears that the news-gathering by foreign correspondents will become “desk jockeys” who do “rip and reads” of the newspapers.
Yesterday in its announcement of a new Kabul bureau, the ABC claimed, “The decision to establish a presence in Kabul follows a comprehensive review of the ABC’s international bureaux, and a reorganisation of bureau resources and administrative arrangements around the world.
“The review does not involve the closure of any existing bureaux or a reduction in the number of correspondents, but provides for more efficient and flexible resourcing arrangements which will result in stronger and more extensive overseas coverage.”
The ABC’s director of news, Kate Torney, and head of policy for ABC news, Steven Alward, are said to be travelling to several to some locations to outline the plans.
Source: The Australian