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CNBC, MSNBC slash staff

CNBC and MSNBC are apparently reacting to the soft ad market with job cuts.

Reuters reported Tuesday that CNBC will lay off about 15 staffers in the next two weeks. The NBC-owned financial news cable channel reduced its staff earlier this year, and could face further cutbacks in 2002 if the economy worsens. CNBC employs about 500 staffers total.

Meanwhile, MSNBC, a joint venture between NBC and Microsoft, plans to implement ``serious'' cost cutting, including halting all new long-form documentary production not related to stories on the ``war on terrorism.''

``This is a crisis for not just the country, but MSNBC too, and we'll have to take necessary steps to fund our own 'war effort,''' Reuters sayd MSNBC president Erik Sorenson told staffers in a memo on Monday. He indicated sales prospects for 2002 are not good.