ABC News announced plans last week to close every U.S. news bureau office with the exception of Washington, D.C., and lay off half its domestic correspondents.
According to an online report from the Los Angeles Times, ABC News President David Westin confirmed that the number of bureau correspondents will be halved and replaced with digital journalists, who write, edit and shoot their own stories. Westin is quoted in the report as saying that despite the cuts at ABC News, the organization will maintain the same number of total journalists as it has today. To maintain the same level of coverage, ABC News also plans to rely more heavily on freelancers.
The network plans to maintain a presence in its bureau cities by setting up shop at local affiliate stations. According to the report, the timing of bureau closings will depend on the network’s leases with various landlords.
Non-union employees began receiving letters last week offering buyout packages, the report said.