New York governor David Paterson was in Buffalo at the end of November to discuss upcoming layoffs of hundreds of state workers. Buffalo ABC-affiliate WKBW covered the governor’s appearance but few suspected at the time that the station would soon be issuing its own layoffs.
WKBW laid off five staffers last Friday, according to The Buffalo News. The Granite Broadcasting-owned station let go of two news photographers, an assignment editor, a production photographer, and a graphic artist. This round of layoffs reportedly follows the layoff of a web producer, who was shown the door the day before Thanksgiving.
WKBW is currently Buffalo’s third-rated news station and the recent November sweeps only served to underscore the also-ran designation. Over the past year, the station has learned to live with an increasingly lean news staff, even calling on some of its photojournalists to step in front of the camera as reporters.
While the station tries to get by with a leaner staff, Buffalo TV critic Alan Pergament wonders if the layoffs aren’t an attempt to reduce the news staff in preparation for a push to sell the station. “Then maybe a new owner will eventually care about putting on a quality newscast,” Pergament writes.