ABC layoffs reinforce need for learning multimedia

abc2Just check out the comments section following the New York Times article on the potential layoffs announcement at ABC News.  The news division is “seeking 300 to 400 buyouts and would resort to layoffs if necessary.” Depending on the person, the development is either another sign that journalism is dying or much ado about nothing.

What I am sure of is that the announcement indicates that the more multimedia skills a journalist has, them more job security.  Take a look at a couple excerpts from ABC News President David Westin’s memo to the staff:

In newsgathering, we intend to dramatically expand our use of digital journalists. We have proven that this model works at various locations around the world. We believe we can take it much further.

In production, we will take the example set by Nightline of editorial staff who shoot and edit their own material and follow it throughout all of our programs, while recognizing that we will continue to rely upon our ENG crews and editors for most of our work.

Some of the concerns expressed about all this are quite valid —  it’s going to be harder for ABC News to do some of the things it used to, and yes, quality may very well suffer.   But what’s the alternative?  Continuing to do the same old things in the same old way is definitely not the answer.