First on TVNewser: Insiders tell TVNewser the staff of ABC’s London newsroom was called to a meeting this morning to discuss the future of the bureau, which will result in the loss of jobs. ABC News SVP Kate O’Brian told bureau staffers that a month-long consultation process is now underway. During the period, which is required by British law, decisions will be made about cost savings including who among the 65 staffers will be cut. That U.K. labor law kicks in when a company is considering letting go 20 employees. Our insider tells us that’s about the number facing a job loss – about 30% of the staff.
An ABC News spokesperson confirms the meeting telling TVNewser, “We will be consulting with our employees over the coming weeks with a view to reaching an agreement on any changes. This discussion is about aligning our worldwide resources with the new technologies available to us and the economic realities we all face.”
Another source who attended the meeting tells us ABC could find other ways to save (telco, other overhead and discretionary costs, etc.) which could mean fewer jobs might be lost.
In late 2007 ABC News expanded global newsgathering by adding digital correspondents, essentially one-person operations, in countries including South Korea, Indonesia and Kenya. And we hear ABC is looking to expand the digital reporter operation.
The London bureau downsizing is the continuation of cuts at the news division. Says the ABC News spokesperson, “This is an effort we have already undertaken in all our domestic bureaus as well as ABC News headquarters in New York.