ABC News Layoffs And Buyouts Complete – 25% Of Staff Cut


The Los Angeles TimesMatea Gold reports that ABC News has completed a massive round of buyouts and layoffs, as the network let go 22 employees yesterday.

The process began two months ago, and has included some high profile correspondents. But according to a memo from ABC News President David Westin (inside), “it is time to look forward.”

The 22 employees cut were a smaller number than had been expected, because more staff had agreed to a voluntary buyout. From the LAT:

The larger-than-expected response to the buyout offer provided a small measure of relief at ABC, which is undergoing a radical makeover in its approach to news gathering and production in an effort to pare down costs. In all, the news division is losing 350 to 400 employees, at least a quarter of its 1,400-person staff.

In addition to the cuts, TVNewser reports that “39 staffers were promoted to positions being vacated by those taking a buyout.”

The news division will now look, and operate, quite differently than it did at the beginning of 2010. But with the cuts complete, it is likely ABC News will not be faced with similar tough decisions in the near future.

Here’s Westin’s full email to staff:

From: Westin, David L.
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 1:39 PM
Cc: Sweeney, Anne X.
Subject: Transformation

As you know, our original timetable for making a wide range of personnel changes called for us to be at or near completion by the end of this week. We have reached that point, and I thought it time to give you an update.

Many more people elected to take the voluntary package or a buy-out of their contract than we anticipated when we began the process. Unfortunately, however, there were a few of our colleagues that we still had to lay off earlier this week. This has been a difficult time for everyone – and most especially for those who are leaving us. We wish them well and thank them for their service.

Now it is time to look forward. We have much yet to do as we move to make full use of what new technology makes possible and we implement fully the structural and organizational changes that we’ve begun throughout the division. The full extent of these changes will be realized over the summer and into the fall.

Thank you to all who have made it possible to do what we’ve had to do and – most important – have continued to report the news in keeping with the highest traditions of ABC News. ABC News is now prepared for the future – prepared first and foremost editorially and creatively but also prepared economically and technically. From this base, we are positioned to grow and to do even greater work than we have in the past.

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