Perhaps the ABC should be renamed the Eastern Australian Broadcasting Corporation or EABC?

E spray painted on the ABC

The recent announcement that the WA Sunday night news bulletin would be axed and replaced by a ‘national’ news bulletin coming out of Sydney has prompted a flurry of emails to us and to newspapers pointing out that in summer such a news bulletin would be three hours out of date - two hours in winter. So what happens in WA after 4 or 5 pm on a Sunday is of no interest to anyone, least of all those who live in the western third of the continent? And how much WA news will make it into the national Sunday bulletin anyway? 

The West Australian (17 June) interviewed well-known journalist Peter Kennedy, who claimed to have been told by current ABC staff that their bosses had been instructed by Sydney that they should run no more than five WA stories per day? We presume this refers to WA bulletins. Can this be true? What sort of organisation sets a geographic limit on news stories from anywhere? How about choosing on the basis of importance, particularly to the audience? Bearing in mind that we don’t wish to be parochial and need to be informed on national and international events.  

Peter Kennedy also made the point that commercial stations would be ‘rubbing their hands as the ABC becomes obsolete to West Australians’. 

It’s no use arguing, as MD David Anderson does, that we’re all moving to digital. Many of us still watch the 7 pm News, and the 7.30 Report following. We may also be using the ABC apps but they aren’t perfect.  

And that brings me to the removal of the political editor position. Some people have a high regard for Andrew Probyn, others don’t.  Regardless of the person now affected (who deserved some warning, by the way), there needs to be someone recognised as the person to consult, and seek advice and approval from. Which stories are the.most important? Content should be accurate, thoughtful and perceptive. Whether it’s on radio, TV or a digital platform.  

I won’t comment on the changes to arts reporting at this time, except to say some more coverage of WA events would be welcome. 

If you want to make a constructive comment on these changes at the ABC, you can email us at [email protected]. We will be contacting ABC management in Sydney on the feeling in WA in due course.

Cathy Bardon
ABC Friends WA