In Depth

NBC News Streamlines Bureaus

The NBC News bureau system is being streamlined in an effort to achieve more journalism and less bureaucracy in the newsgathering operation.

That’s the way NBC News President Steve Capus explained it to TelevisionWeek after a conference call with bureau chiefs about some changes that are expected to take place in April.

In one of the bigger changes, the London bureau will manage all international bureaus and personnel.

Domestically, the trend toward a regional or “zoned” approach will continue, with some tweaks. Atlanta, which has managed Miami and New Orleans assignments, will add Dallas. Chicago will report in through the Northeast bureau.

Mr. Capus said there are no plans to pull all personnel out of any of these cities. He said it just makes more sense for correspondent Janet Shamlian, for example, who lives in Houston and has been jetting to Chicago at the start of each week and flying from there to assignments, to fly directly from Houston to her assignments.

There will be some personnel cuts, “and in many more cases we’re going to have promotions and some new areas of responsibility for some people,” Mr. Capus said. “It will all take effect probably around April, so we’re still figuring out what the net effect will be in terms of job creation and job loss. But I would characterize the layoffs as a very small number. This is not massive.”

As an example of how this approach can produce more journalism, Mr. Capus cited the high-tech-enabled team of correspondent Ian Williams and cameraman-editor Kyle Eppler in the recently opened NBC News foothold in Indonesia.

“The fact that they are a two-person team and that they can go all around the region allows us to say yes to traveling to more places and doing more stories. That’s what this is all about,” the news executive said.

Long-term companywide cutbacks and restructuring at NBC Universal began with NBC News last year and more recently led to more cuts as MSNBC moved late last year from its original space in Secaucus, N.J., into Manhattan, where it now shares studio and other space at NBC headquarters.