ABC News Cutting 35, Moving Assets To Digital

ABC News plans to cut about 35 positions worldwide in an effort to redeploy assets to digital divisions, according to a two-year strategic plan outlined by ABC News President David Westin on Friday in an internal e-mail to the division that was circulated to reporters.

 While final decisions on who will be cut have not been made, certain news operations will be consolidated and positions eliminated in areas affected by changing technology and "changes in our competitive environment," Westin said. The cuts represent about 1% of the division's workforce.

 At the same time, he said, the division is adding positions in other areas, such as international newsgathering and digital. Positions have been posted in India, Australia, Iran and Brazil.

 This is not the first time a television operation has tied job cuts to an effort to expand digital endeavors. In a much publicized announcement in October, 2006, NBC News said it was finding resources for digital by cutting 700 jobs - many in news - to trim administrative and operating expenses by $750 million by the end of 2008.

 ABC recently announced senior appointments at both its digital arm and in traditional linear TV, at Good Morning America. On June 6, GMA senior broadcast producer Jessica Stedman Guff became executive producer of the network's 24-hour digital news network ABC News Now, and ABC News Weekend new content executive producer Christopher Sheridan was

named executive producer

of Yesterday, World News weekend producer Andrew Morse was

named executive producer

of the weekend edition of GMA. 

 Westin, in today's memo, cited ABC News' position as the leader in the nightly news ratings as enabling the retooling. He said senior staff will be taking a "fresh look" at the company to "re-design the division to reflect the growing importance of our digital offerings - and their centrality to our future."

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