A fledgling cable news operation has cut a number of positions and disbanded its sports unit. Writing on Deadline.com, David Lieberman reports that about 60 employees may have lost their jobs in the cuts by Al Jazeera America.
The sports unit’s closing is tied to the network’s decision to cut “The Stream” to two days a week, down from five, the piece notes. “Most of the people being let go are officially freelancers, although the group includes many who had been working full time. The official word is that the company needed lots of people for the launch last year,” Lieberman adds.
In a memo, Al Jazeera America President Kate O’Brian wrote: “Now it is time to set our sights on new goals, requiring different levels and areas of investment and resources. We have reached what I will call our steady-state level of operations and we are bringing our staffing levels into alignment with our long-range plan as per our original business case. As a result, certain parts of our organization will expand or contract and staff levels and resources will be recalibrated.”
The news operation will still have more than 800 staff after the cuts, the memo notes.
The cable news network has yet to draw significant viewership, with only 339,000 unique viewers tuning in during one day in March, Lieberman notes.