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ABC shakes up reporting, axes Lateline

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The ABC will create what it claims will be Australia’s largest investigative and specialist reporting teams in a shake-up that includes axing long-running current affairs program Lateline.

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The national broadcaster told staff today it would create a 10-strong team of “top investigative reporters”, who will work across the ABC’s programs and platforms to break stories.

A new specialist reporting team will gather expertise in rounds including science and technology, regional communities, consumers affairs, education, health, arts and entertainment, social affairs and indigenous issues.

While Lateline will get the chop, along with Stan Grant’s little-watched Friday night current affairs program The Link, the ABC will introduce two new television programs in 2018: a prime-time “news discussion show” at 9pm on the ABC News channel, presented by Grant, and a late edition of the national news bulletin, at 10.30pm on the main ABC channel.

Lateline presenter Emma Alberici will take up a new role as the ABC’s chief economics correspondent while Grant, in addition to his presenting duties, will be chief Asia correspondent.

The investigations team will be led by Jo Puccini, a former executive producer of 7.30. Lisa Whitby, formerly the EP of Lateline, will head up the specialist reporting team.

Nightly current affairs program 7.30 will be “strengthened”, the ABC said in a statement.

ABC director, news, Gaven Morris, said the proposals were a “big investment” in investigative, specialist and in-depth journalism “at a time when many other media outlets are retreating from those areas”.

In some ways, the moves represent a return to older modes of journalism, when specialist roundspeople were more common.

ABC management is consulting on the changes with staff and unions.

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