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The Future of 24-Hour News

New Directions, New Challenges

Stephen Cushion and Richard Sambrook

Over the last 30 years 24-hour television news channels have reshaped the practice and culture of journalism. But the arrival of new content and social media platforms over recent years has challenged their power and authority, with fast-changing technologies accelerating the speed of news delivery and reshaping audience behaviour. Following on from The Rise of 24-Hour News Television: Global Perspectives (Cushion and Lewis, 2010), this volume explores new challenges and pressures facing television news channels, and considers the future of 24-hour news. Featuring a wide range of industry and academic perspectives, including the heads of some of the major international news channels (BBC Global News, Al Jazeera and Sky News, among others) as well as leading academics from around the world, contributors reflect on how well rolling television news is reinventing itself for digital platforms and the rapidly changing expectations of audiences. Overall, the 24 chapters in this volume deliver fresh insights into how 24-hour news channels have redefined rolling news journalism – or potentially could do – in order to remain relevant and effective in supplying continuous news for 21st-century audiences.
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Chapter 19: The International Newsgathering Challenge for Public Service Australian and Canadian 24/7 TV Channels



The International Newsgathering Challenge for Public Service Australian and Canadian 24/7 TV Channels


ABC Australia and CBC-Radio Canada are two old and venerable public service broadcasters (PSB) that have managed the difficult transition into the digital age: they are battered and bruised, but somehow still standing. The two countries and their media systems have a lot of the same characteristics and challenges: the ABC (founded in 1932) and CBC-Radio Canada (founded in 1936) both have to service relatively small and scattered populations across vast, geographic distances. Both companies do some broadcasting in Indigenous languages, and CBC has both English and French speaking services. The two companies also both have roots in the BBC “Reithian” tradition of being called upon to “educate, inform and entertain.” However, in terms of funding they have followed very different paths, and neither service is currently operating within a healthy financial framework. The ABC is a PSB that is almost entirely funded by government, with its TV channels going out advertisement-free. But as we shall see below, this money is now being cut back drastically without warning. CBC, on the other hand, is financed by a mixture of the government (48%), advertising (24%), subscriber fees (13%) and financing/other sales (15%), according to its financial report (CBC, 2014: 4). It operates in the congested airwaves of North America with a lot of competition for viewers across Canada and the US.

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