'We are all content makers now': losing form and sense at the ABC?

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This article considers the rise of discourses emerging with the digital ‘content revolution’ at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), in the context of severe budget cuts and restructures since the emergence of Brian Johns’ 1996 ‘One ABC’ policy. The article explores key decisions, rhetorics and thinking surround-ing the radical dismembering of ABC’s unique ideas and cultural outlet Radio National (now ‘RN’) from 2012 onwards, as it was forced to jettison core parts of its programming and shed specialist and experienced staff. The article seeks to identify how – under the influence of an infectious complex of ideas and discourses associated with ‘digital convergence’, neo-liberalism and managerialism – conditions were in place that favoured the expansion of platform-agnostic journalism and of related topical ‘content’ across the ABC at the expense of other forms and understandings of this ‘rich mix’ network. Core aspects of the ‘project’ as it had evolved over decades were endangered and diluted. Drawing on important historical and comparative research, the article argues that RN is relinquishing its historic ‘special status’ as a media leader in ideas and cultural broadcasting in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-260
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journalism Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
  • Media studies - TV & radio (Australia)
  • media history
  • public service broadcasting (European, BBC, Australia)
  • radio history
  • Australian radio
  • broadcasting culture and history
  • Radio National (RN)
  • radio broadcasting history
  • digital distruption
  • managerialism
  • content creation
  • public service media and cultural broadcasting
  • Public service media and cultural broadcasting
  • Content creation
  • Radio broadcasting history
  • Digital disruption managerialism


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