Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is ABC Killing the Brand Known as "Network News"?

According to the New York Times, "ABC News to Cut Hundreds of Staff Members," ABC will cut about 25% of its news staff or roughly 300 to 400 jobs.

The Times' Brian Stetler reported, "The cuts at ABC, a unit of the Walt Disney Company, are among the steepest ever conducted by a network news division, and are likely to be seen as a further erosion of the company’s news-gathering arm."

That's part of why I think ABC is killing the brand experience of Network News. I've seen Network News teams in operation. It's amazing what they can do, the resources they have access to, and the results they produce.

ABC is now saying it needs to rethink how it produces news. According to the Times, "The network will rely more heavily on 'digital journalists' who produce, record and edit much of their material."

That means fewer resources, more stressed reporters -- who are no longer just reporters because they will also be filming and editing their segments, too. News1 in New York has been doing that for years, and they do a good job -- but you can tell the difference between it and network segments.

Well, you used to be able to. Now, perhaps not. Now, citizen journalists may be able to produce segments that look as professional as the professionals.

Which may not be a bad thing.

Unless you're a network.

Interestingly, while ABC is rethinking how it produces its newscasts, the new executive in charge isn't planning many changes to the actual broadcasts themselves. That may be another problem.

For more, check out "At ABC News, A New Org Chart" and the actual memo available at Mediaite "ABC News Expected To Offer 'Hundreds' Of Buyouts Tomorrow."

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