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ABC News to cut half its domestic correspondents, close bricks-and-mortar bureaus [Updated]

As part of the deep cuts announced this week at ABC News, the network plans to close all of its physical bureaus around the country except Washington and halve the number of its domestic correspondents.

ABC News President David Westin confirmed in an interview Friday that the network's ranks of bureau correspondents, which currently number several dozen, would be cut in half and be replaced with "digital" journalists who would be expected to shoot and edit their own stories.

“We will have as many total journalists as we do now,” he said.

Although the network will keep a minimal staff presence in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and Boston, it will shut down its bricks-and-mortar bureaus there and ask its remaining employees to work from the local affiliates. The Washington bureau will remain open, but its size will be substantially reduced.

[Updated at 1:10 p.m.: Kate O'Brian, ABC's senior vice president of news, said that although the network eventually plans to shut down its physical bureaus in the long term, it is still examining all of its leases and is not going to immediately vacate all offices. The news division has not yet approached affiliates about housing network correspondents, but has found that model works in Denver and Detroit.]

The mood was grim in Los Angeles, the largest bureau outside of Washington. The 40-plus staffers were told this week that only a few producers would remain and only two correspondents would be assigned to cover the West, down from a total of six who work out of Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Many functions that had been done out of the bureau will be handled by a “logistics desk” in New York. Demoralized employees, who did not want to be quoted by name for fear of losing their jobs, said the severity of the cuts would make it nearly impossible to swarm major stories such as the perennial wildfires in Southern California.

Westin said the network would cope with the reduced manpower on breaking news stories by hiring freelance crews and making use of its expanded team of digital journalists, staffers who would be able to handle multiple tasks. Although a majority of stories will still be covered by traditional four-person crews, Westin said he expected a “plurality” of pieces would be done by people shooting and editing their own video. The digital journalists will be stationed in two-person teams around the country.

“I’m sure we will learn more as we go forward, but we have enough experience to be quite confident that we can not only maintain but in some cases enhance our editorial quality,” he said.

This week, the network began sending out letters offering voluntary buyouts to all nonunion employees, and is posting openings of the new digital journalism positions.

“This is a really big change,” Westin said. “Some people are going to embrace it and some people will believe it won’t work. I respect both those groups of people. It’s a question of who wants to work here in the way we’re going to change the place. ... I’m quite confident we will have enough people who are enthusiastic and up to the task.”

-- Matea Gold

 
Comments () | Archives (259)

Why dont they just get their friends in Washington to steal a couple more billion from our kids? It seems appropriate after the billions of dollars worth of free campaigning and cover ABC provided them.

ABC itself may not survive; it is doing its best; but SBC, NBC, CBS, CNN, have given us lies or silence over the most important issues of our time; do any deserve to survive? The 73 Million abortions between 1973 and 2003 were not medically necessary, they were Economically Forced! This story was never covered by the establishment media. Who, and How were they Economically Forced By??? The establishment media neither knows, nor wants to know, actively avoids knowing, nor cares! The establishment media have drank their own Poison Koolaid. Let them die; Morally they have been dead long ago; it is time to bury the establishmen media, as they are beginning to Morally Stink!!!

ABC is going down the tubes because it is blatantly biased in its reporting of FACTS.

The things that matter to me the most are not represented or reported by ABC. They seem to be cheerleaders and apologists for liberals.

Washington-centric news. To our modern media and journalists EVERYTHING is about big government and politics. ABC News, not surprisingly, doubling down on stuff most Americans are sick of, closing everything EXCEPT Washington!

Welcome to Obamaland you asked for it you got it!

If "reporters" had done even a modicum of research on the "annointed one" a fiction of the media's own creation we wouldn't be in this mess. We know what Sarah Palin had for breakfast and that she didn't return a library book in 1979 but "reporters" refused to do their due diligence on the MARXIST in the White House!

You reap what you sow welcome to the socialist wasteland!

The leftists propaganda mills are on the way out, the gig is up everyone can see through the agenda driven lies.

Just move into the White House since you're kissing Obummer's butt anyway - he'll take care of you.

Too Bad Little Obama A$$ Ki$$ers at ABC News..

How is that "Hope and Change" Working Out for you ?????

SUCKERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who cares? I watch Fox anyway. Sometimes MSNBC just to hear the 3 Stooges (Matthews, Maddow and Olbermann) whine and get some comic relief.

How is that hope and change working out for you?

"Freelance". "Digital".

IOW: Minimum wage per story. No benefits. No job security. No rising in the ranks. No company-supplied videocams/computers/transportation/crew.

No NOTHING.

Universities that keep their Journalism Depts need to have their metaphorical heads examined.

Bloggers, Tweeters, and papparazzi have taken over the world of information.

Disinformation will abound even more than it does now.

If you stop worshiping Obama and quit promoting his liberal agenda...then Americans might begin watching ABC News again.

After John Stossel left, I just didn't have a reason to watch any longer. George Stephobamanous seems to truly believe that his liberal views reflect the rest of America...but the news just contains too much pro-Obama bias nowadays. ABC, like NBC, CBS, Yahoo, the AP, CNN and MSNBC, spent too much time repeating the talking points of the liberal elitists in the Democratic Party within "news" stories -- which bashed President Bush on a daily basis for several years. Now, those same "journalists" show constant unabashed adulation toward President Obama.

So much for "journalistic integrity."

I will say this: Diane Sawyer is an improvement!

And we would notice the difference how? MSM has been failing the public while snooping around the hind quarters of OBAMA for the last few years no one who really wants NEWS watches them

ABC itself may not survive; it is doing its best; but ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, have given us lies or silence over the most important issues of our time; do any deserve to survive? The 73 Million abortions between 1973 and 2003 were not medically necessary, they were Economically Forced! This story was never covered by the establishment media. Who, and How were they Economically Forced By??? The establishment media neither knows, nor wants to know, actively avoids knowing, nor cares! The establishment media have drank their own Poison Koolaid. Let them die; Morally they have been dead long ago; it is time to bury the establishmen media, as they are beginning to Morally Stink!!! Time and Actions will tell if any deserve to survive! But what will replace the establishment media? A Bunch of Independent Bloggers???
But how will we find them? Google? Something better than Google is needed!
Posted by: James Thompson | March 01, 2010 at 08:42 AM

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The mainstream media is losing viewers and thus advertising revenue because we - the consumers - do not like or trust their product anymore. Their left-leaning "news" turns the majority of the American People away from them. They no longer hold the monopoly they once did. Maybe they should re-examine their business model?

ABC, NBC, CBS, & BBC are so bias that it is immaterial if they close all together. When I follow some news I normally go now to EU Sites. As an example none of them followed the Global Warming fiasco and hoax. EU online were covering the topic very well.
They do not need reporters they invent the news.


ABC News try this ... go back to reporting the news not manipulating or filtering it. Report it from all sides ... sort of "fair and balanced" to borrow a moniker.Next, invest into investigative journalism that uncovers corrupt practices, government waste and political insider gamesmanship - all while wearing a blindfold.

You will then be back on to the road of recovery.

Get out of denial first ...

I love capitalism in it's purest form. When one business fails due to the success of a better one. Liberal biased news isn't selling, just as liberal talk radio didn't sell. America is wising up to the agenda driven "Progressive" propaganda which has undermined American values. People realize they are not getting the truth. Fox is kicking the butts of the liberal networks and it's just a matter of time before all of them will have to abandon the liberal agenda, fire the liberal bosses, and start telling the truth about things. They should start with the truth that the country cannot afford the democrat health care bill. It will destroy what's left of the economy and launch a second depression.

Welcome to the world YOU created. If you could have been trusted you would have been watched.

Well, now they really can claim to be the Obama network. Obviously only news from DC is important to them.

Awwwww...too bad for those future unemployed "journalists." Now you reap what you have sown. Get ready CBS, NBC, CNN...you're coming up next. Get a real job punks. Lies, distortions and obsession with our liberal agenda got your fired. Good.

Reminds me of the movie "Broadcast News" and the various scens where laidoff staff swear, smash desks and throw paper.

I love it.

Hats off for a moment; and minute of silence, please. Let us say our own goodbyes to one of the truly left-wing progressive news organizations in modern history. I reminded now of the great Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin; I'm reminded of Diane Sawyer's disdain for Republicans; Peter Jennings' total contempt for George Bush at the Republican convention....all these events, I'm sure glorious and funny at the time, but in retrospect were signals of the beginning of the end. America is not a left-wing, progressive country. (ABC = Obama, hmmmmm.)

wow its about time. way to go america we win. maybe now all the msm will start reporting the news and not their opinions, or the democrats or white houses talking points! to a degree i feel sorry for the parents who put their kids thru journalist school with no return. better clear out the home office the boy or girl is coming home. my son is 23 wont go. after 2 kids i was so hoping for peace and quiet!

I bet Fox is hiring!

 
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