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Case Study on Australian Broadcasting Corporation Crisis Coverage

Learn more from this case study on Australian Broadcasting Corporation crisis coverage.
© University of East Anglia

“The ABC has not only helped shape Australia, but we are also the national voice that unites us.” – Ita Buttrose, ABC Chair

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is Australia’s largest public broadcaster, with a combined national reach across television, radio, and online of 67.6% in 2020. The organisation receives state subsidies allocated by the Federal Government while maintaining its editorial independence.

[Quote] “72% of Australians agree that ABC News is the ‘most trusted source of news and current affairs’ in Australia.” – Australian Broadcasting Corporation Annual Report 2020

ABC plays a central role during national crises and emergencies with a dedicated emergency service, website and app for preparation and coverage.

During the bushfire season of 2019-20, Australians turned to their national public broadcaster for trusted news and information, with 73% of people acting on ABC emergency broadcasts. With extensive emergency coverage across television, radio and online services, the broadcaster provided accurate, reliable and emergency coverage to help keep communities safe, despite staff working under incredible pressure and precarious conditions. Between 31 December 2019 and 13 January 2020, the broadcaster produced 296 hours of rolling/continuous bushfire coverage and covered over 200 emergency events, more than any other broadcaster.

Watch: Coronavirus, bushfires, political dramas: ABC News Channel marks 10 years on air covering the decade’s big stories (ABC Australia)

As part of its remit to educate, the ABC also provides educational programming for young people. They expanded their educational services as schools closed during the COVID-19 pandemic by producing additional curriculum-linked content for children of all ages. It also provided additional online support through the ABC Education portal, which saw 766,000 users in April 2020 – an increase of 239% compared with the same time last year.

ABC is also dedicated to catering for indigenous audiences by providing news and information relevant to indigenous communities in Australia. Both this service and multilingual services have helped the organisation’s news services reach new audiences across the continent and the wider Pacific region during the current pandemic.

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© University of East Anglia
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