ABC News President David Westin Details 300+ Cuts, Blames 'Digital Transformation'

david westin

As ABC News braces to cut 300 employees starting tomorrow, president David Westin explains in a staff memo that the cuts are part of the company’s “digital transformation.”

According to the memo, posted in full by the LA Times and Politico, the newsroom overhaul is part of their plan to streamline the newsroom:

This is an extension of the digital bullpen training we’ve undertaken already, but it will be on a scale that we have not seen before. This training program and changes it will make possible in all of our operations will make ABC News the place to work in the digital age. We won’t just be preparing people for the new world; we will be living in it.

The transformation will have six basic components, according to Westin’s memo:

  • They will “dramatically expand our use of digital journalists.”
  • “[W]e 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 recognising that we will continue to rely upon our ENG crews and editors for most of our work.”
  • “[C]ombine our weekday and weekend operations for both Good Morning America and World News.”
  • For special events and breaking news coverage, “we will rely upon our program staff through the day and night” and “marshal personnel from across the division to cover scheduled events.”
  • More freelancers will be used for newsmagazines and long-form journalism assignments.
  • “Overall, we will eliminate redundancies wherever possible.”

Read the full memo at the LA Times or Politico.

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