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Jul 20, 2011

FFS, ABCNews24!

The piece I wrote for the Crikey email this morning was already very long, so I cut out a spray for ABCNews24. The point of a twenty four hour news channel is just that. And those of u

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The piece I wrote for the Crikey email this morning was already very long, so I cut out a spray for ABCNews24.

The point of a twenty four hour news channel is just that. And those of us who did not have access to Sky News or the BBC last night have to be grateful that were able to watch the Murdoch interrogation, thanks to Auntie.

But FFS! Early in the evening, in the middle of highly interesting and significant evidence from the senior coppers, ABCNews24 broke to a leisurely news bulletin, including pedestrian colour stories and the bloody weather!

And also promos for how up to the minute the channel was with breaking news. Sheesh. Walk the talk, please!

And before that, there were glitches as promos started to run, only for someone to obviously pull the pin.

Now I understand that regular news bulletins are part of the rationale of the station, but once again ABCNews24 displayed an odd reluctance to throw out the normal operations. Doing so was certainly justified. The Murdoch hearings constitute one of the major political stories of the decade. This is what 24hour news services are FOR!

And, unlike when the Japanese earthquake hit, these events should not have taken the ABC by surprise. ABC people I spoke to mid afternoon already knew that while the Murdochs would be on late, the cops were on earlier. Who decided against continuous rolling coverage?

News bulletins are available on ABC 1, and on radio. Why the slowness in throwing to rolling live coverage of events? I don’t understand it.

Regular readers of this blog will judge the extent of frustration by the fact that it pushed me and Caroline Overington into agreeing about something – the ABC’s performance – on Twitter. Other Twitterati were voicing similar fury.

Having said that, once the news update was out of the way, the rest of the rolling coverage was good, taken from the BBC. Or at least it was until 3.15am, when I fell asleep in my armchair.

Margaret Simons —

Margaret Simons

Journalist, author and director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism

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