ABC News business correspondent Betsy Stark laid off as network begins cutting correspondent ranks
ABC News laid off business correspondent Betsy Stark on Thursday as part of a wrenching series of cuts in the news division that will ultimately see the departure of a quarter of the staff.
The Emmy-winning correspondent, who joined ABC in 1998, served as the network’s lead reporter covering the economic downturn. Her official bio on ABC News’ website notes that “Stark's ability to make complex financial issues accessible to a general audience is a hallmark of her reporting and has helped distinguish ABC's coverage of business.”
In an e-mail to colleagues Friday, Stark praised her co-workers, saying, “Your talent, your raw intelligence, your commitment to getting it right, your grace under impossible pressure and, at all the times it mattered most, your friendship, have made my years here a privilege.”
She called it “ironic” that one of her final pieces for ABC News was about mid-career professionals forced to reinvent themselves after being laid off.
“They didn’t romanticize the process and neither will I,” she wrote. “But they prove what I believe to be true — that second acts are possible — and it is exciting to consider the possibilities beyond this job that I have loved and which I have worked hard to do well.”
An ABC executive who declined to be named speaking about personnel matters noted that “these are difficult times at a lot of news organizations. Betsy is a terrific reporter and a class act. And these are not easy decisions to make.”
In all, ABC plans to cut between 300 and 400 staffers, including half its domestic correspondent corps, who will be replaced with digital journalists who will shoot and edit their own video. Last week, Los Angeles correspondents Brian Rooney and Lisa Fletcher and San Francisco correspondent Laura Marquez were let go as part of severe cuts to the California bureaus. Morose employees in Los Angeles said they expect to be whittled down to a skeleton staff.
-- Matea Gold
Photo credit: ABC News