ABC News is making no secret about what is behind the sweeping staff cuts it now faces: raw survival instinct.
“I just looked out at the next five years and was concerned that we could not sustain doing what we were doing,” said David Westin, the president of ABC News, as he explained the decision last week to jettison up to 400 staff members, a quarter of the news staff, in the coming months.
The same compelling motive already instigated strategic retrenchment at ABC’s broadcast competitors. NBC, the one network with a cable news channel, MSNBC — and, not coincidentally, the only network in a sound position of profitability — has drastically pared down its operations over the last few years. So has CBS, which is losing money already and has cut about 70 jobs this year.
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But with news available more places than ever, on cable channels and Internet sites, and with revenue challenged by heavy dependence on shrinking advertising dollars, the future for the news divisions at ABC and CBS remains deeply insecure.
Read More: By BRIAN STELTER and BILL CARTER, New York Times