The ABC Just Became "A Sick Version Of The Hunger Games”
Journalists given four weeks to achieve a higher “score” and keep jobs.
Five regional newsrooms will shut and TV production is being scaled back. An even more brutal fate awaits 100 news reporters the ABC has announced it will cut.
ABC sources have told BuzzFeed News the dramatic events began shortly after Scott's speech to staff on Monday morning, with emails arriving in reporters inboxes telling them they had been placed in "pools" based on salary and expertise.
Each pool then had its own meeting and were told that members would be assessed against each other in a four week personal "skills audit". They would then be given, as one manager referred it: "a score on a ladder".
A sheet of paper was also tabled showing some of the benchmarks that could get a journalist a better "score", including being able to file stories to online, TV and radio.
Some within the organisation are joking that senior reporters should quickly learn how to tweet while simultaneously reading the news, or they will be fired.
At a Sydney meeting, 25 senior broadcast reporters were told that six among them would be sacked. In South Australia, 16 editors were told that five of them would go. The most brutal cuts appear to fall on the nationwide current affairs unit, where managers told a meeting of four junior producers they would be fighting for just one job.
Leaked documents reveal the extent of competitive "pools" across Australia.
"They are creating a culture of fear, pitting person against person, friend against friend and it's insane," one reporter told BuzzFeed News.
"I spent my entire meeting trying to work out if my score would be higher than the person sitting next to me, who is a close friend."
One senior reporter asked not to be included in the arduous four week "audit" and instead asked for a redundancy. He was rebuffed by his manager and told he would be participating.
ABC management rejected staff criticism of the process, telling BuzzFeed News it is designed to keep those who have skills the organisation most needs.
"No process of this kind can ever be pleasant," said a spokeswoman for ABC News and Current Affairs.
"This [process] has been designed to be as fair, objective and transparent as possible. People have the right to ask that any decision be reviewed."