Yes, John Cameron is going. I have written all the background for the Crikey email today, but here are the memos that Cameron and ABC Managing Director Mark Scott sent to staff this morning.

From Mark Scott:

Dear Colleagues

The ABC’s Director of News, John Cameron today has announced to his News division that after nine years in key leadership roles – first as National Editor and then as Director – he feels it is time for an extended break and then some different challenges. He will be standing down from the Director position at Easter and will take leave for the balance of 2009.

My powers of persuasion failed in convincing him of another course of action. After nearly a decade at the top of his profession – and 25 years at the ABC, the promise of more New Zealand fishing trips, fewer late night and pre-dawn phone calls, and no management meetings, finally held too much sway.

Under John’s leadership, the ABC has cemented its position as the nation’s News leader. On Television, Radio and Online, the ABC reports and analyses the important local, national and international events and issues with a breadth, depth and quality that cannot be found elsewhere in Australia.

On John’s watch, the ABC has developed critically acclaimed new programs, such as Insiders. He has led the push to develop a new capacity to provide a continuous television news service. He has also been a powerful advocate for finding ways new ways to use technology and invest in different programming, like News Breakfast.

The position of Director, News will be advertised shortly and I would encourage appropriately qualified staff across the ABC to consider applying to fill the role.

We will reflect on John’s leadership and thank him formally as he wraps up his time as the Director, but as he announces his own news today, and on behalf of all his colleagues and the ABC Leadership Executive, I want to thank John for his tireless efforts in the role and his passion for ABC News.


Mark Scott

And from John Cameron:

I’ll be moving on as the ABC’s Director of News next month.

After five years in the job, and the previous four as National Editor, I feel it’s time for a change.

Mark Scott has been good enough to let me take my long service leave, and it’s possible there will be other ABC options for me in a few months.

In the meantime, at least, I’d like to thank the many hundreds of friends and colleagues for their support during my 25 years at the ABC, and especially during my time as Director.

It’s been a great experience and a privilege to help lead the News team into the 21st century and through another decade of editorial excellence and program growth.

The ABC News brand is one of the biggest and best in world broadcasting. I’m confident it will continue to prosper under new leadership.

John Cameron

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