Catalyst presenter Mark Horstman (pictured, second from left) has lashed out at ABC management following redundancies and the end of the weekly programme.
On Facebook he criticised the loss of 15 jobs and the loss of its internal science team:
“Today the ABC sacked its entire specialist science TV team, the only one of its kind in Australia. After 14 years of diligent public service as a science broadcaster, journalist, and producer (including training me as a cadet journalist), ABC tells me I’m redundant ‘as your position is no longer required for the efficient and economical operation of the ABC.’
“Bizarre, given that the weekly Catalyst show was cost-effective, highly valued by the community, and one of the ABC’s most popular programs. Strangely, it means that the ABC has decided it doesn’t need in-house scientific expertise to make science TV.
“I’m gutted. For my 15 colleagues, that their incredible skills and dedication are not valued by the ABC. And gutted that our warehouse of unique experience in science communication is trashed in one fell swoop. As a true believer in the role of the public broadcaster, I always trusted that science was at the core of what the ABC made. The media need more, not less science.
“Thank you to Anna, Jarra, and Jess (and of course Pam, Margaret and Henry) for your love and support in making this journey possible over the years (and the constant travel and long hours it involved). Thank you to the soundos, camos and editors for your friendship, craft, and creativity on our many adventures. Thank you to the many thousands of people around the country – scientists, teachers, friends, lovers of quality TV, Hands Off OUR ABC, and ABC Friends – who in recent weeks have urged the ABC to reconsider and retain their science story makers. I’m sorry we were not able to convince TV management or the ABC Board otherwise.
“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, and have so much more to offer. Where to now? We’ll see. But even when they sting you in the head, the show must go on.”
Earlier this month ABC announced Catalyst would shift from its 30 minute format to “17 hour-long documentaries” but the move has drawn criticism from within the Science community.