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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)

The msm did this to themselves by their enormous egos, salaries, and bias. A part of me wants to say, swm in it suckers, but another larger part is sad because these men and women didn't do their jobs and allowed themselves to be influenced by one political party in particular. That was so obvious in 2008 with their lickey lick attitude toward Obama. They didn't give Hillary a fair shake either. That election was the last straw for me. I don't watch network news and I make a point of getting my online news for free.

Of course they're cutting staff!!!! All of the MSM will be cutting staff while FOX NEWS grows by leaps and bounds!!!! Any idea why GENIUSES!!!!!
The folks want the TRUTH reported, not The Messiah's propaganda!!!! WAKE UP!!!!!! Novenber 2010 can't come soon enough....maybe you'll get it then!!!!!!

TIP: I think FOX is hiring...

Oh, woe is us! Whatever shall we do without All Barack Coverage?

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

ABC is just trying to gain some credibility by becoming a bloger.

This is the future of all liberal media organizations. People are turning off the propaganda.

ABC "journalists" should just move into the local DNC offices. That would be a move toward greater transparency and cut down on communication expenses. Then the reports could just ask a DNC flack in the adjacent cube, "hey, what should I say about this?"

This is really great news!!! Thanks. Look forward to the day when their last emploee is gone.

ABC died a long time ago, now it's time to drop NBC and CBS and most of CNN. They stopped being news worthy sources a long time ago and the reporters and staff are all hacks. They only support their views and only report what they deem worthy. Take a few notes from Fox, it's growing and killing every other network. Anyone wonder why, becasue they report the facts on both sides.

This is so awesome, the Media has shot itself in the face lol. Went ahead in the interest of SHOCK and SCANDAL and completely tore our country down, to the benefit of a pie in the sky dream. They were so vested in that utopian falsehood they didnt see the sword coming for them. Reap what you sew, and to those who say "Well the paper pusher doesnt deserve this" They supported a company and its mission. They are just as much to blame. Accountability, its fannnnntastic! Now with less sensationalist reporters out there, our news will be far less biased.

They could fire 100% of their entire organization and they would have as many journalist as they have now - ZERO.

I would call them overpaid News Readers, but I do not want to insult my British friends by equating the "room temerature IQ great hair and smile liberal idealogues" to actually people that understand what they are reading.

No wonder ABC anchors so closely idnetify themselves with a Teleprompter reading POTUS.

Fact Check: ABC has affiliates in every metro area above one million. They have HUNDREDS of affiliates with trucks and camera and news divisions, etc.

This was a long time coming. Who here watches the news at 6:30? Anybody? No.

Cut all Salaries to a max of 150,000 and REPORT on the news. Do not try to SLANT it ,then you would do just fine.
Now you will feel the pain caused by yourselves.
OH! Try www.monster.com or http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/

ABC turns to the Youtube/blogger to serve as journalist. Pathetic.

Hardly much of a loss! ABC, along with the rest of the MSM, has been in the hip pocket of the Dims for the past 30 years. So, there'll be fewer network mouthpieces parroting the liberal party line ... can't wait.

Bottom line, maybe they would not be here if they were real journalists in the past.

If they had reported the real news over the last 30 years, the country and perhaps they would not have been in this mess. Congress...both parties...are doing a terrible job managing our economy. All they are trying to do is keep their jobs. We would be in much better shape if ABC and other media reported of what they really are doing along with names. We are broke. Why should we let them start another entitlement to mismanage like they have SS, Medicare and many other programs...many of which are going broke.

ABC should consider closing all outlets as they have not reported the news for several years. I have not watched ABC,CBS,NBC for the last 3 years.
If someone wants the NEWS you have to go to Fox and internet.

Hmm- years of rampant liberalism have caught up with them. People are changing the channel, no eyes, means no ratings points, no ratings points mean no advertisers meaning no revenue. Keep hiring partisans like Stephanopolous and Cuomo. Whoops....

Looks like its time for the return of SNL's 'One Man Mobile Uplink'.

Great news! Now you "journalists" will find out what life is like for real America. Now you will have to live in this cesspool of neocommunism that you have worked for decades to build. Don't expect Americans to shed any tears over this. Welcome to the real world it is harsh, cold, and ugly out here thanks to you.

ABC will still be WAY overstaffed!

And Fox News keeps making more money, sucking up the ratings and chugging along...chooo chooo chooo chooooo..... aint the free market a wonderful thing? Hows that obamay hopey / changey thing working for the ya now Abc? hahaha

How many ABC News "reporters" does it take to report how wonderful the Obama Administration is doing?

About 1/2 their current number, evidently.

Maybe the lap dog MSM will start to be the police dog that our constitution and forefathers envisioned. If not then the people have and will turn the channel.
What is stupidity - oh ya - doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The folks have awakened but not MSM.

Last one out shut off the lights!

And they know where the answer lies to improve their News package. BALANCE your presentation - cut the Leftist bias with every single one of your anchors.

If it works for FOX - why would it not work for you, Westin? And you are supposedly the smart guy. Yesh - righhhhhht! That's why your News Division is falling through their ..........

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