ABC overhaul challenges bush to adapt

30 Nov, 2014 01:00 AM
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People, no matter their location, want to access content when and where it suits them

ADAPT or die. How often have we heard that, and how often does it get forgotten as we go about our day-to-day business?

The restructure announced this week at the ABC highlights the need to constantly rethink the way we communicate, with managing director Mark Scott’s email to staff noting that “change is now a media industry constant”.

According to Mr Scott, the new Regional Division will recognise that “with new digital technologies and better organisation, we can be smarter and more focused in our approach to rural and regional audiences”.

This is a challenge facing all of us that want to communicate with people in country Australia – and who want to communicate the issues facing country Australia to an urban population.

Despite the oft-repeated cry that broadband speeds and a ‘traditional’ mindset are keeping farmers and others in regional Australia behind the shift to doing everything online, change is already taking place throughout rural and regional communities.

Wherever you live, whatever your occupation, there’s likely been a change to the way you get information.

Even my father, who at 70 is proud that he “doesn’t know how to turn on a computer”, is now looking up Bathurst’s temperature and rainfall figures every day on the tablet that he originally thought was a bad idea.

Like millions of others, Dad’s also discovered that YouTube can occasionally be a source of information and entertainment, and often records his favourite television program if he’s out to watch later at a time that suits him.

People, no matter their location, want to access content when and where it suits them.

Live streaming over the internet, services like iView, personal video recorders and podcasts have all developed because communicators can no longer simply broadcast material at a set time and expect people to be watching or listening.

Digital technology has also changed the way we think about audiences.

One of the key points we make when delivering media training to clients is to know who is going to be reading/listening/watching the results of your interview – but it’s getting more difficult to segregate in these days of online publishing.

A great example is the loss of Radio National’s regional focused radio program Bush Telegraph, which had both city dwellers and those in the country tweeting sadly about its impending demise.

Like the ABC, as professional communicators we have to be smarter and more focused, and we can’t afford to get stuck in stereotypes about where and how rural and regional audiences access information.

Cox Inall staff are constantly on the lookout for new technology and thinking about ways it might be used by our clients.

Long gone are the days of faxing media releases, as we did when the company was first formed; these days the communications currency includes e-newsletters, webinars, video production and social media management.

Like everyone, we have to remember the old adage: Change is like breathing – stop and you die.

Kaaren Latham is a Cox Inall senior consultant.

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READER COMMENTS

torobrook
1/12/2014 6:55:27 AM

Sell the damn thing. Why do we need this massively bloated public broadcaster which lacks balance and so deliberately of the left. The Country Hour these days often produces puff pieces and motherhood stuff and seems to want to become a pale imitation of commercial talk back radio. Not a lot of depth and rarely does it probe.
Invey
1/12/2014 7:49:51 AM

The country hours is now the Climate change, animal lib hour. They cannot go 5 minutes without mentioning either topic. Hardly anyone watches Landline anymore, it has gone from an informative hour for rural people to a show pandering to the like of BB and co. They need a good clean out and get some balanced reporters, or at least some with the integrity not to push the dribble they are broadcasting every day. It's not how we get the ABC that matters it's the fact your PUSHING propaganda and lies most of the time.
LTF
1/12/2014 8:08:57 AM

If it the right thing to do to privatize all other Government funded operations in the commercial arena, then why isn't it just as legitimate to privatize the ABC. Instead of cutting its budget by a paltry $5 million p/a it should have been cut by 100% p/a. Ratings show that only a tiny % of people view it or listen to 95% of its programs. It is a total waste of taxpayers funds. Lets follow the ratings and get it off the taxpayers' expense sheet. It is just an empire for left/green public servants. While you are at it sack Turnbull too, for doing nothing to fix the ABC.
No More Green Dribble
1/12/2014 8:47:33 AM

Well said Invey , people are so stupid if they think they live in an informed up to date country with a fair and impartial media. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ABC spews out daily left wing green dribble on a large scale . That's why its known as the Australian Brainwashing Corporation. Close down the ABC , sack the lot. I am so sick of paying taxes for these leeches and green grubs.
Bushie Bill
1/12/2014 10:21:32 AM

As always, to the uneducated, anything that is not totally reflecting their views is lacking balance. and is tota;lly biased.
fridgimus
1/12/2014 12:12:48 PM

Yeah lets just scrap the ABC. If 95% of the population are being entertained nightly watching the likes of Big Brother, Beauty and the Geek etc, why not just dumb us down some more. A nation of uneducated, brain dead morons.
mark2
1/12/2014 12:50:15 PM

actually BB, a recent study conducted in the lair of the devil (america) that looked into the differences between conservatives and progressives found that it is in fact those holding leftist political views that are the most likely to not be interested in the views of the other side and also that they are more likely to not seek any understanding of the opposing viewpoint. This is a problem that is prevalent throughout the ABC, it has been captured by the left. Radio National is a case in point, "counterpoint" is the only program on that outlet that presents a non leftist position, balance?
Frank Blunt
1/12/2014 12:59:20 PM

Yep I agree with you on that Fridge, a nation of uneducated and brain dead morons. And the chief dumbing down channel is the ABC.
Makka
1/12/2014 1:29:56 PM

If the AABC is an impartial and balanced media source, surely, by now, we should have seen a doco on the effects of THAT Livex ban on Australia's livestock, farms, Farmers, regions, and associated service industries. After all, THEY (AABC) were largely responsible for the agitating which caused the ban. Cut 100% of funding I say.
Bushie Bill
1/12/2014 2:48:52 PM

"(A) nation of uneducated and brain dead morons" says our resident NotSharp buffoon. He didn't say that they are all west of the Great Divide. It would be great to keep them there, away from harm's way and away from where the decisions are made. After all, we cannot have these galahs getting anywhere near the levers of government, can we? Think of their brain dead contributions to these pages, if you have any doubt.
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