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Night Desk:

Head of Production:

A.B. Credaro

A.B. Credaro



Hair Stylist:
A.B. Credaro

Wardrobe Supervisor:
A.B. Credaro


ABC TV's "Behind The News" Saga

Warrior Librarian From: Amanda Credaro
Sent: Sunday, 17 August 2003 12:01 PM
Subject: Behind the News
To: Russell Balding, Managing Director, ABC
CC: The Honorable Dr Andrew Refshauge, NSW Minister for Education and
CC: The Honorable Brendan Nelson, Federal Minister for Education
CC: The Honorable Richard Alston, Federal Minister for Communications
CC: oztl_net, the listserve for Australian Teacher Librarians

Dear Sir,

It is with great concern that I recently learned that the program, Behind the News, is to be cancelled. As a taxpayer, I find it appalling that such a decision be made without any consultation process particularly with the principal stakeholders, the educational community.

However, as a professional educator, the loss of such an important and unique resource to our young people can only be described as indefensible. Not only does this particular program assist our younger students, but also the format makes it invaluable for NESB (non-English speaking background) students. Beyond the compulsory educational years, adult learners in the wider community have found the program invaluable in understanding the concepts reported by main-stream media.

If Australian schools are to raise a generation of informed citizens, why remove such an indispensable resource? In attempting to provide equality of opportunities to an ethnically and developmentally diverse student population, the cancellation of an irreplaceable program such as Behind the News is a tragedy for Australian society in terms of this country's future.

In conclusion, it is fervently hoped that the decision will be reversed, and the program will be allowed to continue in providing resource support for our excellent instructional curriculum.

Yours truly,
Amanda Credaro

ABC logoFrom: ABC CORPORATE_AFFAIRS1 [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2003 9:43 AM
Subject: FW: FW: Behind the News

Dear Ms Credaro

Thank you for your email regarding the ABC's decision to cease production of 'Behind The News'. The Managing Director has asked me to respond on his behalf.

The ABC deeply regrets that 'Behind The News' will not continue in 2004, after a distinguished 34-year history. 'Behind The News' is the third longest-running program on ABC television after 'Play School' and 'Four Corners'. However, as difficult as any decision is to reduce educational programs and services for children, the ABC has no option other than to operate within the level of funds provided by the Government.

Following the ABC's failure to secure additional funding from the Federal Budget in May of this year, it was inevitable that some programming cuts would be required. Consequently, the ABC Board approved proposals for cuts to programs and non-program functions amounting to $26.1 million per year. This is necessary for the ABC to operate within its budget.

Over the next 12 to 18 months the ABC will utilise its currently held inventory of schools programming, although there will be no new productions. This has been a difficult process and the ABC acknowledges that the loss of some program content has been widely felt.

I am sorry that you are disappointed by the ABC's decision to take 'Behind The News' off the air. Please be assured that your comments are noted and will be conveyed to the ABC's programming areas and the ABC Board.

Yours sincerely

Director of Corporate Affairs

Warrior Librarian From: Amanda Credaro [mailto:]
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 3:15 PM
Subject: RE: FW: Behind the News

To Mr G. Crawford,
Director of Corporate Affairs
Australian Broadcasting Commission

Dear Mr Crawford,

Thank you for the information you have provided below, concerning the fact that "Behind the News" has been axed due to the ABC being "unable to secure additional funding". However, in today's mail I have received a letter from the Office of the Minister for Communications, Information, Technology and the Arts (dated December 24, 2003 and signed by Rachel da Costa, Advisor to the Minister).

The above-mentioned letter details the past, present and (short term) future funding of the ABC. I note that there has been an additional allocation of $71.2 million over the next four years, and includes the statement that this is "the first such additional programming funding that the ABC has received in 16 years".

Whilst realizing that some costs (eg wages) have increased, I feel certain that $71.2 million in additional programming funding should have been more than enough to cover the continuance of Behind the News.

As a taxpayer, parent and teacher, I would be most grateful if "My ABC" could provide some clarification on this subject.

Yours sincerely,
Amanda Credaro

ABC logo From: Mail Postmaster [mailto:]
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 3:16 PM
Subject: Auto reply from ABC CORPORATE_AFFAIRS1

This account is not being used. Please send messages to:

The 3.15pm email of January 5 was then resent to the "comments" address.

ABC logoFrom: ABC [mailto:]
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 4:58 PM
To: Amanda Credaro
Subject: Re: Behind the News

Thank you for your email to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

This is an automatically generated reply which provides general information until a member of the ABC's Audience & Consumer Affairs Team is able to read and answer your email.

General emails offering personal opinions, comments and suggestions will be noted and forwarded on to the relevant area for their information. You can also have your say about ABC programs and services in the many guest books available on our website:

Emails which request specific information or require a detailed response may be directed to a specialist ABC area for their advice.

Unfortunately, the ABC can't answer questions regarding long-term future programming (generally more than four weeks in advance). If you do want to keep informed of the programs shown on ABC Television, our TV website provides the most up to date information available to the public, You may want to add this link to your 'favorites' if you intend to check program details regularly.

As the ABC receives a large volume of emails every day, we ask you to note that it may take up to six weeks [WLW emphasis] for a detailed response to be forwarded to you.

We thank you for taking the time to email us and appreciate all of our viewer and listener feedback. We hope you find our programs interesting, informative and entertaining.

Kind regards,
Kirstin McLiesh
ABC Audience & Consumer Affairs

Note that the above are genuine emails. Brendan Nelson, Federal Minister of Education, also responded (via regular Australia Post) - stating that he had forwarded my original email onto the Federal Minister for Communication etc. To date, all other correspondence has been from subscribers to oztl_net. Those public emails are available through oztl_net's archives. Others that were directed to me privately will not be made available.

POSTSCRIPT: No reply was ever received from the ABC. However, in December 2004 - following the asking of questions at the federal parliamentary level, the ABC stated - via an unheralded announcement on its website - that Behind the News would recommence in February 2005. ...

PAGE CREATED January 7, 2004
Last updated February 13, 2005