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How David Westin Ruined ABC News (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
HumanEvents.com ^

Posted on 09/09/2010 10:29:42 AM PDT by Scythian

The slogan of ABC News was once, “More Americans get their news from ABC News than from any other source.” Now, not a single ABC News show leads its time slot.

What happened? ABC News President David Westin spent the past 13 years running the network news division into the ground.



Westin announced Tuesday that he was resigning (the PC term for getting fired) at the end of the year. His internal resignation email was a lame effort to leave his legacy on the network.

“Over the last nine months, we’ve put in place new anchors on all of our programs. At the same time, we went through a very difficult transformation made necessary by changes in our business and its economics,” the email said. “I am confident ABC News is better positioned for the future than it has been at any time since I came here in March of 1997.”

Westin may be confident, but he’s dead wrong. The news division has been decimated since he arrived during the ides of March.

I worked at the ABC News in the Washington, D.C., bureau when Westin was hand-picked by parent company Disney President Robert Iger (who’s now Disney CEO.)

Even now, I remember the shock and disappointment among the journalists that a lawyer—Westin—would be running their beloved news division.

He moved from D.C. to Manhattan when he got the ABC News job and quickly fell into an elitist, out-of-touch, mainstream media mindset. He fired the conservative Bill Kristol (who moved to Fox News) and promoted liberal journalists—Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos, Fareed Zakaria and, most recently, Christiane Amanpour.

Westin was not a news man. But, as time went on, Westin’s bigger problem was that he wasn’t a businessman. His management style was to only act out of fear for his own position. He also seemingly did Iger’s bidding without pushing back. He was risk averse.

However, Westin’s biggest weakness was that he lacked the entrepreneurial spirit to launch innovative and creative ventures.

ABC Didn’t Adapt

The old three-network broadcast TV industry changed with the development of cable TV and the Internet.

Journalists like to think themselves above the fray of the business side of their industry. But media is a business like any other. When existing revenue streams are drying up (TV shows lose viewers) and there is no new revenue streams (new programs, cable outlets, digital media), then expenses have to be cut.

The networks that have succeeded during this period did so by doing two things: creating new programs that appeal to viewers and develop a cable network outlet. ABC News, under Westin’s failed leadership, did neither.

Furthermore, while all media has suffered in the recession, ABC News in particular was hit hard because it was trying to manage lower ad revenue with no new revenue streams to shore up the loss.

Cable networks are the most profitable part of news divisions, but ABC did not utilize that model. Without the cable counterpart, ABC News is dependent on the dwindling viewers of broadcast news.

Westin could have boosted profits by creating new programming or adapting to the changing media landscape. Instead, he dealt with dwindling profits by cuttings costs related to news gathering—closing bureaus and cutting staff.

During the past two years especially, Westin made drastic staff cuts which affected ABC morale. By late April, Westin closed every domestic bureau (except Washington, D.C.), fired half of the correspondents and cut the staff by about 400 people.

He emailed the staff after the massive cuts that “from this base, we are positioned to grow and to do even greater work than we have in the past.”



Again, he was wrong.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abcnews

1 posted on 09/09/2010 10:29:45 AM PDT by Scythian
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To: Scythian

That’s a pretty good read ...


2 posted on 09/09/2010 10:33:27 AM PDT by Scythian
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To: Scythian
During the past two years especially, Westin made drastic staff cuts which affected ABC morale. By late April, Westin closed every domestic bureau (except Washington, D.C.), fired half of the correspondents and cut the staff by about 400 people.

He emailed the staff after the massive cuts that “from this base, we are positioned to grow and to do even greater work than we have in the past.”

Does that sound like a growth position??

3 posted on 09/09/2010 10:33:48 AM PDT by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com <--- My Fiction/ Science Fiction Board)
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To: Scythian
Christiane Amanpour is simply unwatchable.
4 posted on 09/09/2010 10:35:09 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Read the comments at the original story link, a treasure, folks are really waking, all the comments sound like Freepers, I got a feeling for the first time in a long time we just might “make it” ...


5 posted on 09/09/2010 10:37:08 AM PDT by Scythian
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To: Scythian
How David Westin Ruined ABC News (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch)

ABC = Always Bullsh!tting Communists.

6 posted on 09/09/2010 10:38:04 AM PDT by GoldenPup
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To: Scythian
But media is a business like any other.

The "Media" is not in the news business.

The "Media" is not in show business,

The "Media" is in the Advertising business. That is where their money comes from.

They overlook that when they slant their programs to insult people.

7 posted on 09/09/2010 10:46:45 AM PDT by Dan(9698)
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To: Scythian

This story parallels how Washington became a mess. Westin was a weak cocktail circuit fixture listening to the echo chamber of elitist libs and overpaid talent. DC is the same thing with progressive pols listening to each others BS having no clue about the public. The public is taking care of the news business by not watching, and the pols will be taken care of in Nov.


8 posted on 09/09/2010 10:54:27 AM PDT by Lazlo in PA
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To: Scythian
Not one word in the article about ABC's liberal/Marxist spin on the news. Who wants to watch that?

We hear the death rales of the mainstream ( Marxist) media. WHEN WILL IT **FINALLY** DIE!!!!

( Yes, I am shouting!)

9 posted on 09/09/2010 11:01:42 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Scythian
As we all know, decisions in the MSM are made along a liberal ideology or worldview. First of all, I would never let a lawyer run anything. Law school seems to destroy all commonsense. Lawyers and accountants will usually run a business into the ground. It is the way that they have been trained to look at things. Westin takes the usual accounts view of things. When the income starts to decrease, you start cutting costs. They are risk adverse. There are exceptions to everything.
The MSM culture does allow the possibility that conservatives and the great unwashed have anything to offer.
10 posted on 09/09/2010 11:06:08 AM PDT by Nosterrex
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Agree..and I wonder if it’s more than a coincidence that he gets the ax a few weeks after her show debuts..He signed her to a big $$ deal..


11 posted on 09/09/2010 11:14:56 AM PDT by ken5050 (The meek shall inherit the earth, but no way Kendrick Meek beats Marco Rubio)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Fareed is UNWATCHABLE also!!


12 posted on 09/09/2010 11:30:11 AM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion......the Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: ken5050

Didn’t she freelance pieces for 60 Minutes some years ago ?


13 posted on 09/09/2010 11:31:17 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Don’t know..


14 posted on 09/09/2010 11:33:30 AM PDT by ken5050 (The meek shall inherit the earth, but no way Kendrick Meek beats Marco Rubio)
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To: wintertime
sadly, the won't just die. they will absorb some other viable entity and mutate, hiding until they are recognized yet again.

these parasites can not get real jobs, because no one in their right minds would pollute their system by knowingly bringing them in.

they will simply affix to a new host once their primary host dies, by simply buying their system from the top.

marxists always repeat the behaviour that worked for them in the past, just like parasites.

15 posted on 09/09/2010 11:45:43 AM PDT by mmercier (you stumble and you fall, and then you do it again)
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To: Scythian

I’ve always thought that the big 3 will eventually have to follow how the cable news networks have aligned themselves. Meaning Fox is right leaning, MSNBC is hard left, and CNN tells it’s viewers it’s in the middle, but everyone knows they are far left also. The result is Fox is thriving. MSNBC is surviving, and CNN is dying.
The same thing will probably happen with the big 3. ABC and CBS will soon be in a fight to the death. The first corporate owner that figures out media is a business and tries to capture an unfilled demographic will be the first one that pivots to the right. They will survive and thrive, and the other will die. NBC will remain hard left to compliment it’s MSNBC brand. The odd one left out will try to hang onto the middle, but like CNN will fail. What will be left is two opposing brands, one hard left, and one right.


16 posted on 09/09/2010 12:30:09 PM PDT by SDShack (0zer0care = "The Final Solution" - Socialized Soylent Green Healthcare)
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To: abb
Ping to ABC Smooze staff newser dump on brilliant company management
17 posted on 09/09/2010 1:30:57 PM PDT by Zakeet (Like the wise Wee Wee said, "We can't be broke ... we still have checks in the checkbook.")
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To: Scythian
Strangely, your post was posted AFTER another one of the same article, but it was pulled for being a duplicate. Not complaining, mind you, just the fact. I have no problem with a duplicate post here and there. Just strange they'd pull that one which was posted before this one. There were a couple comments that were very good and am going to try posting them here:

~~start~~

I first worked at ABC News in NY in 1964. With people like the young Peter Jennings and Roone Arlidge, we were on fire. We won, because we refused to lose.

Conservative reporters like Frank Mariano were allowed to tell the truth in their reports from Vietnam, because the stories were neither Left or Right Wing. They were the TRUTH, and that was all that mattered.

The 1972 Munich Olyimpic Terrorism coverage and the 1980 Iran hostage reports were the final milestones. ABC may not have had the ratings then, but we at the other networks (I had moved to CBS) knew they were tops.

In the 46 years since, ABC became a giant, then like most older giants, it morphed into a withering stumblebum trying to survive on past glories.

It is over. The end is/was no surprize. Its demise was heralded not so much by what Westin did, but that he was appointed to head the News Division in the first place.

With Westin as its head, the old New York mandate (which I often got into trouble for ignoring) "make the story slant liberal" changed to "lie if you have to, but ensure the story slant is liberal."

(And no, I am not Bernie Goldberg. Bernie is a great man. I am not, yet, a great man... almost.... but not quite. :)

There is a new ABC, a new fresh kid on the block. It is called FOX.

Watching ABC try to cope with FOX is like watching a way-over-the-hill Sonny Liston lose it all in the first round to a young Muhammad Ali, with Howard Cossel calling the fight... for FOX!

Within 50 miles of the White House or Empire State Building, the great unwashed do not understand FOX or its appeal. That matters not, because the rest of the country does.

1 posted on Thursday, September 09, 2010 8:40:25 PM by MindBender26
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To: MindBender26

All of the branches of Pravda North America need to fold.

2 posted on Thursday, September 09, 2010 8:46:18 PM by TASMANIANRED (Liberals are educated above their level of intelligence.. Thanks Sr. Angelica)
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To: MindBender26
For the rest of the story, read the comments after this story to see what was really allowed to go on by the executives at ABC News.

And then ask yourselves if any other business would have been allowed to let this behavior go on for years and years without being addressed.

-PJ

3 posted on Thursday, September 09, 2010 8:47:42 PM by Political Junkie Too ("Comprehensive" reform bills only end up as incomprehensible messes.)

18 posted on 09/09/2010 10:34:51 PM PDT by Auntie Mame (Fear not tomorrow. God is already there.)
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