ABC News to layoff 25 percent editorial staff

February 24th, 2010 - 10:08 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 24 (IANS) US broadcasting giant ABC News will downsize its editorial team and layoff up to 350 staff members, media reports said.
In a “fundamental transformation”, ABC News announced Tuesday that it was seeking to substantially reduce its staff, possibly by up to 25 percent, The New York Times reported.

For decades, the network news divisions have seen their audiences erode due to stiff competition from cable, the internet and changing consumer patterns.

ABC News currently employs around 1,400 people. Employees were told that the news division is seeking 300 to 400 buyouts and would resort to layoffs if necessary.

ABC News staff said that the reaction to the cutbacks was muted, mostly because the announcement had been expected for weeks.

“Everyone sees the reality of the industry, and everyone wants to stay competitive,” said one of the employee who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to ABC News president David Westin, the “transformation” would result in a leaner, smaller news division.

“The time has come to re-think how we do what we are doing,” Westin wrote in a memorandum to staffers.

Westin said ABC would also “take the example set by ‘Nightline’ of editorial staff who shoot and edit their own material and follow it throughout all of our programs”. However, he said traditional crews would still handle most of the network’s news-gathering work.

“When we are finished, many job descriptions will be different, different skill sets may be required, and, yes, we will likely have substantially fewer people on staff at ABC News,” Westin said.

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