SUMMARY FOR POLICY MAKERS:
ABC doing less with more!
ABC Annual reports indicate an alarming rise in staff numbers over the period 2003 to 2009 from 766.24 to 913.14.
flat over the study period.
Applying the standard measure of productivity used for university academics, we have based our analysis in terms of stories per staff member. In these terms, based on the data provided, ABC News productivity fell to an all time low in 2009 with each staff member employed by ABC News resulting in just 7.8 stories for the month, a sharp drop on 2008 which yielded 10.3 stories per staff member. Readers may find the shape of the graph somewhat familiar.
Despite the increased staff, total stories declined dramatically from the previous year from 8894 to just 7134, well below 2003 figures. Note that we have not attempted to hide the decline in the graph below.
Weekend NewsFor weekends there has been a steady decline in productivity over the study period.
The future appears even more grim for those who rely on ABC News output for their Weekday news. 2009 was an all time low, with a productivity index of just 0.32 stories per staff member per day.
Alarmingly, leaving out the obvious outliers of 2007 and 2008, the long term trend points to zero output by 2067, at which time staff levels will be around 2522. We assume that these staff will be involved in preparing a diminishing number of stories for ABC's weekend news. However we feel it's worth noting that all the news worth reporting will occur on the weekend.
We will add to our analysis for 2010 when ABC's annual report appears later in the year. Naturally a copy of the raw data is available on request.