ABC News Reorganizes D.C. Bureau

ABC News is laying off about a dozen staffers in  a reorganization of its D.C. bureau, according to a source familiar with the move.

According to a memo from ABC News' D.C. bureau chief Wednesday, the move is part of a reorganization of the bureau from "platform-based" teams to "content based teams," which means some new positions are opening up, while others are going away.

An ABC News source said those laid off would be able to apply for the new positions. "We are investing in editorial and storytelling," said the source, but added that did not take away from "the devastation that comes along with losing their job and we're not trying to minimize that."

Jonathan Greenberger, Washington bureau chief, as well as VP and executive producer of This Week with George Stephanopoulos sent the following memo to bureau staffers:

D.C. Team,

It is our reporting and storytelling, across all platforms, that make our D.C. Bureau the envy of Washington and will make us a leader of ABC News now and well into the future.

Starting today, we launch a new approach to the way we operate, unifying the Bureau into a single team serving every platform within ABC News. As part of this transformation, we will unfortunately have to redefine some jobs and say goodbye to some of our colleagues, as we’ll need fewer people in some operations, engineering and general assignment editorial posts. This decision did not come easily, but we feel it is necessary for the continued strength of our Bureau in a rapidly changing landscape.

In concrete terms, here’s how we’ll further strengthen our reporting and storytelling while unifying our operation:

• We will shift away from platform-based teams and towards content-based teams, which will be responsible for reporting and storytelling across all of our platforms, in much the way that the Global Affairs Team is already doing.

• Our reporting has never been stronger, and we will double down on that by investing in our editorial operation, reallocating resources towards our specialists – people with in-depth knowledge of specific areas, who are well-sourced in our most important beats.

Early next week we'll post more than a dozen job openings as we look to bring on board more of these specialists.  We want to fill these positions as quickly as possible.

In January we took the first step in building and expanding upon our reporting when we set up the Global Affairs team – and it's been a huge success.  We’ve been producing smart, original content used across all platforms, from six-second Vines to Martha's pieces on World News Tonight and This Week taking us – quite literally – to the front lines of the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

To form the Global Affairs team, we grew from three editorial positions to seven, and that investment in our editorial depth has been a key part of its success.  We’ll follow that model to create several other teams, adding editorial jobs to a Pennsylvania Avenue Team (covering both the White House and Congress), a Transportation/Regulation/Consumer Team, and a newly expanded Justice Team, in addition to our General Assignment Team.

As I said earlier, our reporting has never been stronger.  In just the past three months, we've been on an incredible run: Martha Raddatz landing exclusives with General Allen and the Iraqi Prime Minister and reporting from Jordan, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey; Jon Karl moderating the first 2016 presidential forum and breaking new details of how Hillary Clinton’s email violated State Department rules; Pierre Thomas bringing us exclusive video of Hannah Anderson’s rescue and of a sting involving a homegrown radical bent on blowing up the Capitol; Jim Avila breaking the news of Alan Gross’ release from Cuba; David Kerley reporting morning, noon and night on every conceivable form of transportation; and James Gordon Meek’s investigation with Brian Ross into U.S.-backed Iraqi military units being investigated for committing atrocities and war crimes.

We’re building on an incredibly solid foundation – yet acknowledging that as strong we are, we must always be imagining and preparing for the future to continue doing the important work that informs our audience about the most significant issues of our time.

Thank you, as always, for your hard work, dedication, and talent. I look forward to seeing you at 1:30 in the Newsroom.


John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.