The news division at CBS was hit with layoffs Monday (Feb.
1), according to sources there.
The company began informing employees Friday (Jan. 29) and
notifications continued into Monday.
The cuts will further eliminate news gathering costs and
will be felt at broadcast headquarters in New York
but also at the 150-person Washington
bureau, according to those familiar with the discussions. Most CBS News
programs will end up losing some staff including 60 Minutes, which has largely been spared the axe that has
periodically fallen on other programs and departments. The total number of
layoffs is expected to come in under 100 or less than 7% of the news division.
CBS News declined to comment.
CBS News' foreign bureaus underwent downsizing in 2008. And
last year the network signed a deal with foreign news gathering web site
GlobalPost that gives CBS News a footprint in 50 countries via the independent
sites' army of correspondents.
The news comes as another grim marker for media companies
struggling to cut costs and reinvent themselves as leaner and more efficient
while not undercutting their mission as news organizations.
Layoffs and restructuring have occurred at all
three broadcast news divisions over the past few years. And the recession
has only exacerbated the belt-tightening.
Last week ABC
News laid off 31 people in broadcast operations and engineering. BOE plans
to eliminate more jobs later this year, bringing the total reduction in staff
to about 70 positions. Some of those cuts will involve union positions.
"We are in a new paradigm," said one veteran producer. "We
can't do business as we have done it. Everybody gets that."