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ABC News Announces Cutbacks of 25 Percent of Staff; With the Departure of 300 to 400 People, ABC News President Calls Cuts a ‘Fundamental Transformation’ of News Division

Feb 24, 2010  •  Post A Comment

ABC News said it will reduce its news-gathering staff by 300 to 400 people, which is about 25 percent of its staff of about 1,500 people, The New York Times reports.

The cuts will be made by offering buyouts, and if necessary, laying off employees.

ABC News president David Westin is billing the cuts as a “fundamental transformation” of the news division, noting in an internal memo that “The time has come to rethink how we do what we are doing.”

He told the Times in an interview that the cuts are a result of the changing economics of the business, and, “It’s better for the organization if we embrace change rather than get dragged into it.” He told the paper that “as I looked out over the next several years I could not in good conscience say that things are going to get better and there’s going to be a big turnaround in broadcast revenue. As a result I concluded we needed to move now.”

According to the Times’ report, Westin said, “I frankly don’t think it will be particularly noticeable for viewers.”

In conclusion, the article quoted Jason Samuels, an associate professor of journalism at New York University and a former senior producer at ABC. The professor "said Tuesday’s move ‘makes sense,’ but added, ‘ultimately the pressure to continue churning out network quality news with a pared-down staff is a recipe for burnout.’ "

–Elizabeth Jensen

4 Comments

  1. It’s tragic when business departments plan poorly and allow for over staffing.
    How many union positions were cut?

  2. Maybe if the local “news” cut back on their overblown staff, they might broadcast in more dignified manner and get rid of the hyped-up crap they now serve up.

  3. Maybe if the local “news” cut back on their overblown staff, they might broadcast in more dignified manner and get rid of the hyped-up crap they now serve up.

  4. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

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