Australia's ABC launching news channel

National broadcaster to use existing resources for channel

SYDNEY -- The Australian Broadcasting Corp. will pilot its new 24-hour free to air news channel next month ahead of a full service launch mid-year, ABC staff were told Friday. 

The channel, named ABC News 24, will run continuous and commercial-free coverage of breaking news stories from around Australia and around the world, on one of the ABC’s digital channels. 

It will draw programming from the national broadcaster’s existing news and current affairs operations, as well as developing new programs specifically for the channel, which will focus on world news, national politics and business. 

Its key anchors, editors and reporters will be existing ABC journalists. 

The ABC’s news resources include around 800 journalists working out of 80 newsrooms and international bureaux as well as a new state of the art digital news center at its headquarters in Sydney, from where the channel will operate. 

The channel won’t require any additional government funding. 

ABC managing director Mark Scott said announcing the channel earlier this year that “no media organization in the country is better equipped to deliver this channel than the national broadcaster. We can draw on the investment already made in the ABC, through its major newsrooms in every state and territory, 12 international bureaus and 60 regional newsrooms, to deliver to Australians a top-quality, 24-hour news service that is comprehensive, independent and up to the minute.”

It is expected that some programming from the new channel will also feed into the ABC-managed pan Asia channel, Australia Network. Management of that network is due to be put to tender by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade some time this year and rival pay-TV news service, Sky News Australia has indicated that its keen to contest the tender.
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