ABC News is looking to eliminate up to 400 positions by offering buyouts across the news division. The number of people who opt for the "voluntary separation package" will determine whether the company does layoffs and how many people get the axe.
David Westin, president of ABC News, sent an e-mail to all ABC employees in which he explained the division's restructuring, detailing the "revolution in the ways that people get their news and information." He says that the digital age makes the news business more competitive and demands that ABC re-think their business.
Here's Westin's list outlining the restructuring:
"The transformation will have six basic components:
1. In newsgathering, we intend to dramatically expand our use of digital journalists. We have proven that this model works at various locations around the world. We believe we can take it much further;
2. In production, we will take the example set by Nightline of editorial staff who shoot and edit their own material and follow it throughout all of our programs, while recognizing that we will continue to rely upon our ENG crews and editors for most of our work;
3. In structure, we will combine our weekday and weekend operations for both Good Morning America and World News;
4. In special events, we will rely upon our program staff through the day and night to cover unexpected events and marshal personnel from across the division to cover scheduled events;
5. In newsmagazines and long-form programming, we will move to a more flexible blend of staff and freelancers so that we can respond to varying demand for hours through the year; and
6. Overall, we will eliminate redundancies wherever possible."
ABC's restructuring follows layoffs at CBS News earlier this month. CBS didn't reveal number, but described it as either "dozens" or "less than 100." With ratings and broad ad revenues suffering it's simply too expensive for these TV operations to maintain massive employee ranks in bureaus around the world.
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