To Mark Scott, on news of swingeing ABC cuts

[inspired by this Guardian Australia report about forecast cuts to news and current affairs on ABC TV and radio]

Dear Mark,

I am a 45 year old historian, who pretty much lives online, owing to a series of paid jobs as a digital content producer and an obsession with news and current affairs, as well as twitter. When I am not online I am listening to ABC Radio, or watching ABC TV live, by podcast and iView. I am exactly the demographic you need to keep (and I’m raising three kids to be ABC fanatics as well).

As a historian, I particularly value the work of the Hindsight unit, and have myself contributed research and my voice for two stories this year – one aired in March and the other this weekend. I volunteered my time for these programs because I believe in them, and I have been impressed by the depth of research of the producers. Hindsight is so respected by historians that it regularly earns awards from peers, as it did this year in the multi-media category at the NSW Premiers’ History Award.

Programs like Hindsight, Stateline and Lateline provide quality research that endures beyond the news cycle – I regularly listen to five year old ABC programs in my work. They add value to the ABC’s digital presence, and make it worth wading through the stream of news grabs. Having lived and worked in Tasmania and regional New South Wales, I also understand the value of local content. I mourn the cuts already made, and cannot imagine what it will be like for those communities if they don’t hear from Stateline or Bush Telegraph, which tell stories of the places they live.

There has to be space for reflection and research in ABC content. Digital doesn’t have to mean dumb – if anything, the flexibility of digital broadcasting is an argument for providing rich content and diverse voices across a range of platforms. But you have to keep making that content, using trusted names that hold your older demographic, but keep us younger ones engaged.

Dr Naomi Parry
Sent from my iPad

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