Stan Grant resigns from ABC and four-decade media career for university role | Australian media | The Guardian

What's Happening

Stan Grant says he has walked away from the ABC and the media after four decades because he wants to change the toxic global news culture by working on something constructive.

“I’ll be working out of Monash University in a dual role as professor of journalism and director of the Constructive Institute,” Grant told Guardian Australia.

“I think I have something to teach people about this. I’ve been in the crosshairs of the worst of our cultural pile-ons. And I think we can all learn, including me, we can all learn how to do this better.”

The former host of Q+A said he resigned as a staff member from the ABC several weeks ago and will become the inaugural director of the Constructive Institute Asia Pacific.

In May the Kamilaroi and Wiradjuri man stood down from the talkshow after receiving “grotesque racist abuse” but he says he has been thinking about playing a more constructive role for a long time and he does not blame Q+A or the ABC.

He said Q+A did it better than most. “It’s difficult to put a show together when you’ve got five people with opinions and an audience,” he said. “It is difficult. It is not an easy thing and they do it better than most. And public square programs are important. But I think even from my experience of Q+A, I think we can do it better.”

He flies out to Denmark on Wednesday to spend time at the institute, which is based at Aarhus University, before returning to work at Monash University’s school of media, film and journalism.

“This is not just some sort of abstract idea; our democracies around the world are in retreat,” Grant said.

“The media framing, debate and discussion around conflict is a cancer on our society. And we have to accept that while we, the media, are part of the problem, we have an obligation to be part of the solution.”

Grant will lead projects and debates that embrace global solutions, nuance and dialogue to newsroom cultures, Monash University said.

The abuse against Grant escalated after he spoke on the ABC about the impact of colonialism ahead of King Charles’s coronation.

Grant said in a column published on the ABC website in May that after a final episode he was “walking away”.

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“Since the king’s coronation, I have seen people in the media lie and distort my words,” he said. “They have tried to depict me as hate filled. They have accused me of maligning Australia.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. My ancestors would not allow me to be filled with hate.”

The ABC news director, Justin Stevens, said the role was aligned to Grant’s desire to foster a “kinder discourse”.

“We respect Stan’s decision and we hope he will still be a contributor for the ABC in the future from this new role,” Stevens said.

“The ethos behind it aligns with our endeavour to make our journalism more constructive at a time where the media sector is seeing increasing levels of news avoidance and news fatigue.”

Stevens has already apologised for not defending Grant earlier from racist attacks.

The ABC permanently appointed Grant, who turns 60 in September, as the full-time host of Q+A in August 2022, a year after Hamish Macdonald quit the weekly discussion program and was replaced by rotating hosts.

The show is being hosted for the rest of the year by Patricia Karvelas but is not expected to be commissioned in 2024. The ABC has not confirmed the future of the show.