Thursday, June 3, 2010

ABC NEWS Productivity Survey: Models predict grim future.

We have finalised the results of our inaugural survey of the productivity of ABC's News service. The long term trends provide an alarming picture of the future of ABC News, and of news in general! The survey is based on a count of stories for the month of June for each year in ABC's news archives, starting in 2003. Staff numbers are derived from ABC annual reports. We have used June as the basis for our survey as ABC Annual reports provide a head count of staff for this month.
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.
Based on the trend our model indicates ABC News Staff Numbers in the year 2100 will be about 3450. Given the proportion of staff in "News" to the rest of the ABC remains at 2009 levels (20.1%),we predict with a high degree of certainty (90%) that in 2100 the ABC will have about 17163 staff. Of concern is that there appears to be no correlation between ABC staff numbers and global temperature, which remained flat over the study period.
News Output
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 News
For weekends there has been a steady decline in productivity over the study period.
Given a continuation of the long term trend, our model predicts the unit output per staff member for weekend news stories will fall to zero in the year 2102, at which point ABC News will employ about 3506 staff in News. We are unsure what they will be doing, or whether this indicates that nothing will be worth reporting on in the not so distant future.
Weekday News
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. 


  1. Your satirical comparison with past & blatant support by ABC News services, investigate journalism & information programs (eg The 7:30 Report etc) of the Climate Change Alarmist brigade is most apt.

    How does that old saying go.. "As yee sow, so shall yee reap".

    With the Climate Change (Global Warming) case now thoroughly discredited around the world & collapsing around the doomsayers ears, it's time for those who published this drivel to be held to account. " shall yee reap".

    ABC News (& indeed their BBC UK counterparts) should have been above such poor journalistic performance, more akin to the news reporting tactics employed by commercial Main Stream Media (MSM) who can't resist a bad news Alarmist story whether it be true or otherwise.

    After all, it's bad news alarmism that 'sells', good news rarely gets a mention.

    How easy it's been to simply publish the shrill cries of the 'Alarmist' foretellers of global disaster "we're doomed, CO2's a pollutant (NOT!), Polar bears are becoming extinct (NOT!), Pacific island nations are disappearing beneath the waves (NOT!), global temperatures are rising beyond normal predicated levels following the last 'Little Ice Age' (NOT!), the Himalaya's & other glaciers around the globe plus the Artic & Antartic ice fields's are melting at exceptional levels (NOT!) etc, etc.

    No thanks to the ABC/BBC & MSM, the real story & battle for the truth was not won via the MSM but has been fought out over the Internet & the Blogosphere.

    Web sites debating the science, some (like What's Up With That or Jo Nova's ) now attract hundreds of thousands of hits weekly by ordinary citizens from around the globe. Why?

    Simply because we, 'the people' have found the MSM in their respective countries wanting in both accuracy & truthfulness.

    A far more creditable, timely & accurate source of Climate Change information now resides on the NET & the Blogosphere!

    The ABC & other MSM have been left at the post. The world of information technology has raced them by. It is they who are now in catchup mode! ..."so shall yee reap!"

  2. Greta comment MM. While our productivity report is a dig, the numbers are real. It appears ABC's foray into opinion journalism over hard news reporting may be a contributing factor. We'll look at the numbers at the end of June and see how much of the "decline" can be blamed on the move to Op ed pieces.

  3. Good !! And while you're at it ("looking at the ABC's numbers at the end of June..") you could do worse than see if The ABC News & like information services bothered (if at all) to cover the following news stories with balanced, informed & honest journalistic coverage related to the Climate Change debate.


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