Broadcast and cable TV news shows continue to seek less expensive ways of getting content. Now ABC News is looking to make massive cuts to help get to this new financial model.
It wants to trim between 300 and 400 jobs -- about a quarter of ABC News' workforce. Who will take the hit? The network didn't exactly say. But there's one hint in ABC's missive: It wants to increase the number of "digital" journalists.
That's another way to describe TV journalists who do their own camera work -- thus increasing the pace of eliminating the camera people who frame those TV-friendly faces.
There are already plenty of TV news organizations - mostly local -- with one-person journalist/camera operators. ABC is looking to expand this model for a broadcast network.
I'm guessing there's an argument to be made in getting investigative journalists more quickly behind the scenes to find big stories - with just one person to worry about.
What can we look forward to on broadcast, and possibly cable, news shows? Rougher, perhaps more realistic video. This has a precedent. TV news viewers are already familiar with grainy-looking video from satellite telephones from journalists "embedded" in army units.
ABC News President David Westin calls for a "fundamental transformation" that will ensure "sound journalistic and financial footing."
We can only expect other news organizations -- like cable TV news shows, which can be filled with lot of analysts, pundits, and the like --- will find their own ways to get less expensive content.
One big question remains: whether traditional TV news shows will continue to move toward a model that critics complain about in digital TV platforms -- that they provide lots of analysis and perspective, but very little in the way of real original news.
ABC's announcement didn't say whether there would be a shift to more analysis - rather, that it wanted to be ready for the digital age. That seems to be good news, mixed with some bad.