Press release from ABC TV
The ABC’s status as the nation’s virtual town square enters a new phase today with the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, launching ABC Open at an event in Parliament House.
This innovative project is aimed at developing the digital skills of regional and rural communities, allowing them to tap into the potential of new technology to share their ideas and tell their own stories.
Through the ABC Open project, communities will be able to create and share material in forums most relevant to them. Material will feature on the ABC’s new Local websites at abc.net.au/local and across other ABC websites. ABC Open content could also be made available across other broadcast platforms including mobile, radio and TV.
The ABC’s Managing Director Mark Scott said ABC Open represents another step forward in the national broadcaster’s commitment to serving as the nation’s 21st Century ‘town square’.
“The town square concept is all about utilising the ABC’s resources and talent, plus the new technology that allows us to move into new platforms and new devices, to connect communities. Interactivity and connectivity are essential in this new digital space. ABC Open enables our audience to do this – highlighting Australian voices and Australian stories.”
ABC Open utilises funding made available by the Federal Government in the last Budget to support the roll-out of the National Broadband Network. The ABC was allocated $15.3 million over three years under the Regional Hubs Initiative to build the project, purchase equipment and recruit specially-trained staff.
The emphasis in recruitment will be on creating valuable employment opportunities outside the major capital cities. Through the project, more than 50 editors and producers will be engaged and based in Local Radio offices across the country. Their role is to help communities design and post their own content, developing media-rich local stories that encourage the further exchange of ideas and opinions.
“ABC Open will help bridge the digital gulf experienced by many Australians outside the main population centres,” Mr Scott said. “The aim is to equip them with the digital skills necessary to exploit the full potential of the new digital environment.”
As part of the staged development, the ABC is currently appointing Editors and will now begin recruiting the first 12 ABC Open producers.
More details are available online at abc.net.au/open