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The ABC launched ABC News 24 last night.

They funded it by "saving money" elsewhere (which explains the repeated difficulties ABC News has often had recently showing the correct titles under people during news stories). I'm guessing that they also saved some money by not buying chairs for the presenters:



I'm a long term ABC NewsRadio addict, so I've watched the arrival of its television equivalent with great interest. The "no new funding" statement worried me: I had a vision of the day being filled with each state's Stateline being run in succession over and over. After being riveted with an account of local politics in South Australia, we'd progress to Tasmania... for the third repeat.

As it turns out I've been impressed by the amount of new programming. It's all almost all ABC News 24's own content until 7:30pm when it starts switching between ABC1 news/current affairs programs and ABC News 24 content (from 1:00am we have the pleasure of mixed half hour crosses to the BBC between replays). (This is where we do eventually get repeats of Stateline, but they appear from 1:00am Sunday morning. To be honest, I've got nothing against an occasional Stateline, even for other states, but it's good not to have six of them in a row.)

So far the programs are nicely presented with a good range of material and not too much repetition (yet!). The Drum (which is now a program as well as the ABC's blog site) even managed to put on a distinctly right wing commentator who was opinionated yet self deprecating and amusing. Who would have imagined that it was possible for the ABC to find someone other than the execrable Andrew Bolt who (even assuming you accept his world view is different) really doesn't have anything of interest to say. Ditto Piers Akerman (mostly). Time will tell whether the said commentator (Chris Berg) will continue to be provocatively interesting, or if he will fall into the temptation to be too smug.

As well as The Drum, The World (9:00pm) stood out as a good program. (That may partly be a reflection of the fact that I find important or diverse international stories more interesting than local trivia.)


Footnote: I chose my screenshot image above as a bit of a joke: "ABC News 24 Exclusive: Farmer Sells a Cow." In truth, the story was about Tasmanian farmers feeling forced to sell their farms to foreign purchasers.

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Anthony Holmes July 23rd, 2010 09:40:20 PM

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