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ABC News Head James Goldston on Layoffs: ‘Necessary as We Adapt to Changes in Our Business’

ABC News
Courtesy of ABC News

ABC News is laying off staffers amid a broader reorganization at parent company Walt Disney, one that impacts a low single-digit percentage of the news division’s 1,400 staffers, according to a source familiar with the situation.

In a memo to employees sent Thursday evening, ABC News president James Goldston said that the personnel reductions were “necessary” as the company adapts to changes in the business and its organizational structure. Those who have been let go will end their tenures at ABC News in early 2021.

The news comes on the same day as cuts to Disney’s television arm under general entertainment content chairman Peter Rice, which saw the departures of a number of longtime executives from the ABC Entertainment broadcast network and 20th TV studio unit. Separately, Radio Disney disclosed Thursday that it would shut down operations early next year.

Goldston’s full memo can be read below:


I want to let you know about some changes in the news division. 

2020 has been a transformative year in our industry. The pandemic accelerated the audience’s interest in streaming, including in news and information, and generated significant challenges across all our businesses, including ABC News, that have lasted far longer than anyone could have predicted. 

Unfortunately, as we position ABC News for the future, we’ve made the difficult decision to reduce the size of our workforce in a few areas. The people whose jobs are affected have all been notified, and they will leave the company early next year. 

These decisions are never made lightly. We’re parting ways with people we have worked with and who have made so many important contributions to ABC News. I’m deeply thankful for their years of service and tireless dedication to help our audience better understand the world. I’m working with our HR teams and managers to do everything we can to support them through this transition. Both I and all of our leaders are here to help and to answer any questions that you may have in the coming days. 

As hard as this moment is for our colleagues, it is necessary as we adapt to changes in our business and how the company is organized by consolidating some functions and moving people into roles essential to our growth in the long term. 

In a few weeks I’ll unveil our priorities for 2021. We’ll continue to invest in our flagship brands and programs, live breaking news, streaming content and our signature long form storytelling while building on the exceptional standards of journalism that distinguish ABC News. 

The last nine months have been unsettling both professionally and personally for everyone. I’m very proud of the excellent work straight across ABC News this year. We’ve helped inform millions of people when they needed news from a source they can trust. 

Through an historic pandemic, a racial reckoning, a consequential election and beyond, you’ve shown incredible determination and resilience under extraordinary circumstances, and I am grateful to every one of you.