Gaven Morris on waking the ABC digital news giant

Australia's public broadcaster is going to get bigger

  
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Earlier this week I wrote about Nine and the ABC being recognised internationally for their fast-growing news sites. I took the opportunity to examine the ways that metrics can be used and abused in newsrooms, and from the comments I received on that piece it’s clear that I hit a nerve with many people who have worked in digital. If you’ve been inside a focussed, competitive big general news website you don’t forget the pressure, and many people wanted to back up what I said about insulating reporters from metrics.

For the record: I have been a big pusher of metrics inside newsrooms and have presided over editorial cultures where numbers are important. I have mellowed over the years and learned a lot from the newsrooms I’ve worked in. There’s a short story by Jorge Luis Borges where he meets his former self and isn’t impressed. I’m not sure about that, but I definitely wouldn’t want to work in some of my old teams.

Today I’m speaking to ABC News Director Gaven Morris about the long-term trend which underlies his brand’s globally recognised performance. Morris took charge of ABC news in 2015, and since that time the ABC’s digital news audience has been growing steadily. In a statement that may horrify commercial operators, Morris says ABC news digital is not done growing. 

So how did they do it, and how hard did he have to push the numbers?

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