ABC News cutting, changing jobs for digital focus

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NEW YORK -- ABC News will cut about 35 positions worldwide as part of a two-year review of its operations that will reposition the news division for the world of digital media.

It won't be a straight 35 jobs cut, as some positions will be added in digital media and elsewhere while others will be eliminated. The level of cuts is comparatively small for the size of ABC News, roughly 1% of its worldwide work force.

ABC News president David Westin made the announcement in an internal e-mail to staffers Friday. Westin said further details would come out later but that the news division was going to spend the next two years adding positions in key areas while cutting back in other areas. Westin wasn't available for comment Friday.

Westin wrote that the plan was to make sure that ABC News and its broadcasts remained strong as well as build where it can and "redesign the division to reflect the growing importance of our digital offerings -- and their centrality to our future."

The digital media area will get more staff, and resources and other areas due to technology will be cut or consolidated. The network will look hard at its bureaus worldwide, including some that were established in a different era of network news and for different news priorities.

Some ABC News employees who aren't cut will be given new assignments. ABC News was hiring in India, Australia, Iran and Brazil, the network said.

ABC News is hardly the first news division to reimagine itself in the brave new world of digital media. NBC News said late last year that it would trim 10% of its work force in a revamp to reflect the new digital realities. At least two high-profile on-air talent, John Siegenthaler and Stone Phillips, were let go because of the NBC Uni 2.0 cuts.

Westin said the reorganization was all the more important now that ABC's "World News With Charles Gibson" was enjoying a run at first place.

"Now we're dealing from strength, and that makes it all the more important to act now," Westin said.
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