Earlier this week, ABC News, a unit of the Walt Disney Company, largely completed one of the most drastic rounds of budget cutbacks at a television news operation in decades, affecting roughly a quarter of the staff. The cutbacks promise to change ABC both on- and off-camera.
The business of news is a particularly ugly one these days, and news outlets across the country have trimmed their staffs. But it is exceedingly rare for a newspaper or a network to shed a quarter of its employees all at once, as ABC has done.
For viewers, the effects will be felt on the individual broadcasts, like “World News with Diane Sawyer,” which lost two of its six senior staff members to buyouts. They will not be replaced.
In the future, more segments will be reported, filmed and edited by jacks-of-all-trades, called digital journalists, internally. They may lack the polish that a traditional four-person crew can provide, but they are much less expensive. Sometimes two of the digital journalists will team up for reports.
“We are now, as a work force, becoming much more flexible,” said Jon Banner, the executive producer of “World News.”
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