NBC Universal begins layoffs in News

The ax is already beginning to fall at NBC News. Last week, the network began firing employees connected to key news programs, including “Dateline NBC,” “TODAY” and “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams.” Local NBC O&O stations have also announced staff cuts, both in front of and behind the camera.

One of the deepest cuts so far, according to “The New York Times,” is “Dateline NBC,” a news magazine show that now airs twice a week. Reports are that by late last week at least 15 staffers had been fired, and that number was expected to grow to as high as 10 percent of the entire staff.

Cuts at “TODAY” and “Nightly News” were expected to be much lower, the report said. The “Times” said layoffs of news employees, which include graphics editors and producers shared by several programs, are expected to reach about 40 this year. Other reductions, the report said, will come from voluntary departures, such as retirement.

On Oct. 19, NBC Universal revealed that it intended to reduce the size of its newsgathering operations by at least five percent. This included about 6000 workers, including those employed by Telemundo and local O&O stations.

The company blamed the layoffs on the migration of news viewers to the Internet and advertising losses during primetime. Overall, NBC Universal is seeking to save as much as $750 million companywide.