ABC aims to cut 300-400 jobs: source
By Sue Zeidler
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co said it was revamping ABC News in a move aimed at reducing more than 20 percent or 300 to 400 jobs, according to a source familiar with the division's biggest cutback in years.
The restructuring at ABC News is the latest to occur among major broadcast news divisions who have had to face declining viewership, challenges from the Internet and the recession.
In a memo to staff, ABC News President David Westin said on Tuesday the operation needed to re-think how it carried out its role and anticipate change rather than just respond to it.
He said ABC would dramatically expand its use of new technology, digital journalists and reporters capable of shooting and editing their own material.
Westin said ABC would offer voluntary separation packages to all full-time, U.S.-based, non-union, non-contract employees, Westin said.
The response to the voluntary program will determine the extent to which ABC will need to make further cuts, he said.
The source, who was not authorized to speak officially about any of ABC's actions, said ABC News hoped to reduce staff by 300 to 400 people. ABC News employs about 1,500 people.
"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 in the memo. Continued...