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ABC is about to cut 300 – 400 jobs. Why is that good news?

2010 February 24

In my last post, I talked about the challenges facing local TV Stations.  Shrinking audiences, new fees from the networks that used to pay them, competition from nearly everything electronic.

Yesterday news broke that ABC is about to cut 300 – 400 jobs.  It’s not a surprising cut.  Network news audiences are shrinking.  There are too many other places to get news, in some cases, the same place the networks are getting theirs.

So why is that good news?

Even the Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC, one of the most powerful corporations in the world is being greatly affected by the Internets unrelenting reorganization of their successful media business models.  It’s affected their music business, their TV business and their film business.

But in all of this negativity about job losses, and “the end of an era” talk, I was heartened by the memo released by ABC News President David Westin.  In his email to staff he wrote: 

“All of us are good reporters. We can see that our entire society is in the middle of a revolution — a revolution in the ways that people get their news and information. The digital age makes our business more competitive than ever before. It also presents us with opportunities we couldn’t have imagined to gather, produce, and distribute the news. We can have great success in the new world – but only if we embrace what is new, rather than being overwhelmed by it.

The time has come to anticipate change, rather than respond to it. We have a rare opportunity to get in front of what’s coming, to ensure that ABC News has a sound journalistic and financial footing for many years to come, and to serve our audiences even better. But we must move boldly and promptly. In the past, we’ve sought out less expensive ways to replicate what we’ve always done. The time has come to re-think how we do what we are doing.”

I tip my hat to Mr. Westin, for keeping his eyes open to reality and for having the guts to make this change, this radical change in how ABC News will aggregate and disseminate news. 

How is your company coping with this revolution?  Are you doing the same old thing and praying for different results?  Are you anticipating change and being proactive?  Or are you reacting again, and again, and again?

Mr. Westin hit it right on the head when he said,

In the past, we’ve sought out less expensive ways to replicate what we’ve always done. The time has come to re-think how we do what we are doing.

Instead of offering a You Tube video to supplement this post, I’m offering this excerpt from today’s NPR Broadcast, All Things Considered.

To hear the story on the offical NPR website, just click this link.


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