Justin Stevens, a veteran TV journalist and 7:30 a.m. executive producer, will become the new head of ABC News, Analysis and Investigations.
The 37-year-old, who has been with the ABC since 2006, was named director after a highly competitive recruitment process involving internal and external applications.
He heads a news team of more than 1,200 employees nationwide and in international agencies, producing a wide variety of news and current affairs on ABC radio, television and digital platforms.
“It’s a huge honor and I feel the weight of the responsibility — for good reason,” Stevens said.
“The bar for ABC News is the highest of any media organization in this country, as we are government funded and have strict editorial obligations as outlined in the ABC charter. They are values enshrined in everything we do, of editorial accuracy, poise, impartiality and storytelling for all Australians from across the country.
“I am aware that ABC News is only as good as the sum of its parts, and we have an extremely talented group of people working for ABC News and I can’t wait to lead them in this next chapter.”
Announcing the appointment, General Manager David Anderson said Stevens was well equipped to steer the division at a time of major news events such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, rising cost of living and the upcoming federal election. .
“Justin has a proven track record of editorial leadership on complex issues and events,” he said.
“Together with the ABC News executive team, Justin will lead the next phase of the ABC News strategy to be more accessible, valuable and relevant to Australians across all platforms, always putting the highest quality journalism at the heart of it.
“I would like to thank the members of the ABC News executive for their support during this hiring process, especially Gavin Fang, who has done an exceptional job as a news director and will continue to play a vital role in ABC News’ work going forward.
“Justin fully understands the challenges and opportunities ABC faces as a vital public service in the digital media age. It is a position that will require exceptional editorial leadership, and Justin will be outstanding in the role.”
Stevens joined the ABC in 2006, working for eight years at 7:30am as an interview producer for presenters Kerry O’Brien and Leigh Sales, helping to interview big names like Barack Obama, Tony Blair, Sir David Attenborough, Woody Allen and the Dalai Lama.
He also mentored the producer at 7:30 a.m. and then moved to Four Corners for two years, where he produced major investigations including The Siege on the Siege Siege and an exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton.
He then returned to 7.30 as an executive producer in 2018, boosting his broadcasting and digital audience. Stevens was also a producer on the ABC series Keating: The Interviews with Kerry O’Brien and the award-winning documentary series The Killing Season with Sarah Ferguson that explored the bitter leadership struggles between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.
While primarily experienced in television current affairs and investigative journalism, Stevens has a passion for harnessing new technologies to reach a wider audience across all platforms and ensure ABC News remains Australia’s number one online news source.
“I wanted this job because I care deeply about the future of ABC News,” he said.
“It is a challenging environment for media organizations in the coming years, faced with ongoing media fragmentation and the way technological changes have destroyed aspects of the way we consume our media.
“I inherit ABC News in good health, already on an exciting digital transformation journey, and this next chapter will be about coming together as a team and ensuring that, as we continue to adapt, we remain at the heart of everything we do, strong, robust and accurate journalism, aligned with the values that have served us well for 90 years.
“Good, strong, robust public interest journalism doesn’t happen by osmosis – it’s due to the concerted effort and vast amount of experience we have at ABC News, so we’ll protect that and further prepare it for the future. fantastic, innovative culture.
“In all newsrooms across the country, we will continue to address the key issues and challenges facing the nation, we will continue to examine every issue of fairness that warrants inspection without fear or favour, and report the news Australians need to hear and read.”
As a government-funded broadcaster, ABC News is heavily monitored, and journalism by its nature often upsets people in powerful places, but Stevens is unfazed by the renowned pressures of work.
“In my previous positions, I’m used to control and responsibility,” he said.
“That control and accountability is there for a reason as a public broadcaster funded by taxpayers. I won’t question what we’re doing because of misinformed criticism, but I’ll also make sure we’re transparent about where and how we can do things better. do and take responsibility for what we do I always make decisions that are consistent with my own values of integrity, honesty and what is right and those values will be at the center of any decision I make or responding to any check or criticism I face along the way.”
Stevens was drawn to a career in journalism in 2000 when, at age 15, he gained work experience at Channel Nine, alongside news anchor Peter Overton.
“Peter generously showed me the tricks of the trade and opened my eyes to what is an exciting career in journalism and media,” he recalls.
“From that point on, I’ve done about 20 work experience placements everywhere from ABC to Fox Sports to Seven and Ten channels and got a better feel for the work and the different cultures in different organizations.
“My first paid job was on the Sunday show of Nine before going to 7:30 and producing Kerry O’Brien for his final three years as an anchor.
“The highlights have been that I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the most formidable and talented reporters, presenters and production staff, including cameramen, editors and studio staff, and learned from them in a collaborative environment.
“Broadcast media is a team sport. I loved brainstorming and exploring the art of the interview and chasing the big news or being on the road at Four Corners, challenging myself to think visually when creating a researching and, in more recent years, trying to help mentor some of the most talented young journalists who come through ABC News.Loved working at 7:30am and what kept me interested [over 20 years in journalism] was at the center of the most important stories for this nation and played a part in explaining and communicating them to the Australian public.”
Stevens will start in his new role on Monday, April 4, replacing Gaven Morris who stepped down in November after six years on the job.
One of Stevens’ first tasks will be to fill his old job at 7:30am and hire a new presenter, as Leigh Sales has announced she will be leaving the program after the federal election. A new Four Corners executive producer is also due, and Sally Neighbor moves on.
As ABC celebrates its 90th year at a time of unprecedented community upheaval from the pandemic and natural disasters, major global and national problems, and bitter public dissension and mistrust, Stevens is committed to ensuring that ABC News is the most trusted source of the country stays for news.
“I think over the past two decades the Australian public has become increasingly jaded and let down by public institutions,” he said.
“The ABC is one of the most trusted organizations in the country, but we need to be constantly aware that trust is easier lost than earned, so it’s critical that the ABC – and all media organizations in this country – do its utmost.” do our best to maintain the highest editorial standards possible.
“Australians trust ABC News to deliver the quality journalism and public interest services they need, which are an essential part of a healthy democracy. That job is more important than ever.”