No immediate plans, says Gaven Morris.

Outgoing ABC News boss discusses his future, SKY News, Twitter, govt influence and more.

Gaven Morris has no exit date and no immediate plans when he vacates his role as Director News Analysis and Investigations after 6 years in the role.

But he denies his departure is due to criticism by News Corp and SKY News commentators.

Speaking yesterday to ABC Melbourne’s Rafael Epstein, he said, “One of the things that I encourage our people to do constantly is not to look at small media mouthpieces that have an agenda and look at the impact that we have with our audiences.”

Probed on whether they constituted ‘small,’ he replied, “They’ve got small audiences. But my point is that quite often there are agenda-driven media in Australia that come at an issue with with a predetermined point of view. What I would say to our staff and our teams is, ‘Look at the broader impact we have the Australian public.’

“The Australian public often don’t think in the way that SKY News might think. So, focus on the needs of the audience. Focus on the feedback and the respect and the dedication we have from our audiences.

“That’s what matters a lot more to me than the media organisations that might have a preset agenda.”

While he defended Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire after an independent review he acknowledged decisions around Hamish Macdonald on Q+A and the end of a 7:45am radio bulletin were his responsibility.

“100% yes. In these sorts of roles, you take decisions, you try to make good judgment calls, you work with your leadership team to try to make the best judgments, you can with the information in front of you.”

He also denied the government had been extra tough on the ABC lately, noting it had been worse in recent years.

“We went through that period a few years ago, where I think things were pretty cloudy and pretty murky in relation to the way the government looked towards us.”

Epstein also quizzed him on whether he wished ABC journalists didn’t tweet so much?

“Frankly, Twitter’s become such an ugly awful place in every regard,” he replied.

“I don’t see civilised and interesting conversations going on on a platform like Twitter in a way that I think they once did. And so quite often, it’s faceless people saying nasty things without any background.”

Did that mean ABC had been guilty of wrongdoing?

“Yes from time to time, absolutely. I think we’ve all got to be better on social media platforms, whether you’re an ABC person or you’re a citizen. Often it becomes a very ugly place. I’m enjoying much of my life because I’ve spent a lot less of it on Twitter,” he replied.

Morris is yet to announce when his contract expires or his final day at ABC.

“I’m not stepping out in two weeks and taking a new job or anything like that. I’m literally giving the ABC notice that my time is almost done and they should start planning for the next person, and I’ll start planning accordingly.”


2 Responses

  1. I’m sure the ABC would at least have a vague succession plan in place for each of its top executive roles, but the way he puts it in the last paragraph is there’s no plan in place at all.

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