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Alumni Statement: New ABC News Director

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ABC Alumni welcomes the appointment of Justin Stevens to the crucial post of ABC Director of News, and congratulates him.

Justin is young for the post (only 37) and has had little experience in daily news, as opposed to current affairs. Just as his predecessor, Gaven Morris, had little experience in current affairs, as opposed to 24-hour news, when he got the job.

On the other hand, Justin has been EP of 7.30, the ABC’s most important daily current affairs program, for four years. Gaven’s predecessor, Kate Torney, was EP of the weekly The Insiders – a less taxing program to lead than 7.30 – when she was elevated to the top job, and most of us would agree she excelled in the post.

As the boss of 1200 journalists – the most important editorial post, surely, in Australia – Justin will be on a steep learning curve, and will take over at the beginning of a crucial election campaign, with a war raging in Europe, and floods devastating tracts of NSW and Queensland. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end.

But he has been a popular and effective leader at 7.30. We have every hope that he will prove as effective as Director of News. We hope that the two senior internal applicants who have not been successful, Gavin Fang and John Lyons, will continue to contribute their energy and talents to ABC News division.

Now more than ever (to quote the title of MD David Anderson’s essay on the ABC), Australia needs vibrant, vigorous, accurate, impartial and comprehensive news and current affairs coverage from its national broadcaster. We hope and believe that Justin Stevens will help ensure that we continue to get it.

Jonathan Holmes
Chair, on behalf of ABC Alumni
31 March 2022

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