Effective Feb. 1, ABC News will rely on the BBC for reporting, correspondents and support staff for breaking news in Iraq. David Westin, president of ABC News, made the announcement in an e-mail to the staff on Wednesday morning.
ABC News will not have full-time correspondent in Iraq but will continue to operate a bureau there. The network will continue to use its own correspondents for its recurring "Where Things Stand" series. Also, Martha Raddatz will continue to do her embedded reports with U.S. forces. Raddatz is currently traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan and will report from those countries in the coming weeks. She'll be embedded with the 101st Airborne which is stationed near Kabul.
The move represents an expansion of ABC News’ previous collaborations with the Britsh Broadcasting Company, which maintains a sizable bureau in Baghdad. The network worked recently with the BBC on coverage of the U.S. election and the Congo.
"Iraq will continue to be an important story for ABC News and our audiences, and we will devote all the resources necessary to do the story justice," wrote Westin in the announcement. "By working more closely with the BBC, we will increase our capabilities in Iraq and the region, while at the same time freeing our people and resources to concentrate on the unique reporting that our audiences value so highly."
The move by ABC News comes amid widespread cuts in American networks’ foreign news operations, a reality that was underscored in the wake of the November terrorist attacks in Mumbai.