ABC nabs Guardian executive editor to lead regional and local content

The ABC has appointed Lee Glendinning, currently The Guardian’s executive editor, as head of content curation and platforms in its regional and local division.

Glendinning, who is based in the UK for her current position, will relocate back to Sydney to commence in the role later this year.

At the ABC, she will take charge of the regional and local team’s digital and social media output, and manage content planning and operations, audio strategy, and content quality.

“Lee has experience in bringing the very best out of the editorial and content teams she has led – here in Australia and in the USA and Britain,” said Judith Whelan, director of regional and local.

“She will play an important part in helping us connect more deeply with Australian communities, particularly in our cities’ suburbs and in regional centres, which is central to us delivering on our Five Year Plan.”

The Five Year Plan involved axing services including ABC Life and the 7:45am bulletin, and up to 250 redundancies to meet a budget shortfall. Last week, the union for journalists confirmed it has started a Fair Work Commission case over the ABC’s alleged underpayment of redundancy entitlements, just months after the broadcaster said it would make a contrition payment of $600,000 for underpaying casual staff by almost $12m.

The news organisation is standing by its redundancy calculations, noting its method has been in place for “over two decades, and is consistent with the SBS and public service entities”.

The ABC has also received widespread praise this year for its coverage of both the COVID-19 and bushfire disasters, particularly its bushfire reporting in regional areas. The regional and local division is also responsible for local screen content including Back Roads, Gardening Australia, Landline, and Offsiders, with a team based out of 56 metropolitan and regional outposts.

“I’m so thrilled to be joining the ABC which has such an important role in keeping Australians connected to one another across the country — something which is more critical than ever right now,” Glendinning said of her new role.

“I’m passionate about how we tell the real stories of Australia. This is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the team working to make sure we can reach readers, listeners and viewers in a way which matters to them, in the communities where they live, and the issues they care deeply about.”

She started her career as a reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald, before moving to the UK, where she had stints at The Guardian, The Times, and The Evening Standard. She returned to Sydney to work as Asia-Pacific editor at The Guardian, and was promoted to deputy editor of Guardian Australia in 2013 as a founding member of the local launch team.

She then moved to the US to work as editor of The Guardian there, directing editorial content for teams placed in New York, Washington, and San Francisco, before moving back to London as executive editor. In that position, she was charged with strengthening audience relationships through membership and reader revenue.


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