ABC News to cut 300 positions

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter

NEW YORK ( -- ABC News is expected to cut roughly 20% of its staff, the company said Tuesday.

The New York-based media company said the cuts would affect roughly 300 of its U.S.-based employees. Beginning on Wednesday, the company will offer voluntary separation packages to all full-time non-union, non-contract employees.

In an email sent to staff on Monday ABC News President David Westin, announced a "fundamental transformation that will ultimately affect every corner of the enterprise."

In his email, Westin said the company will "eliminate redundancies wherever possible," combine the weekday and weekend operations for Good Morning America and World News, and rely more on a blend of staff and freelancers for long-form, newsmagazine programming.

Following an example set by Nightline's production crew, editorial staff will shoot and edit their own material, he said.

"When we are finished, many job descriptions will be different, different skill sets may be required, and yes, we will likely have substantially fewer people on staff at ABC News," Westin wrote in the email to staff.

The news comes exactly two weeks after ABC's parent company, Disney (DIS, Fortune 500) announced strong fiscal first-quarter financials. Revenue in the company's broadcasting division was up 5% over the year before.

The company said, however, that lower prime-time ratings and advertising rates at the ABC Television Network offset results.

While reports on the economy show the pace of job cuts may be slowing, planned cuts hit a 5-month high in January. The White House expects the unemployment rate to stand at 10% during 2010. To top of page

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