ABC News Launches Digital Research Center; Eight Jobs Cut

WebNewser has learned ABC News is shuttering its current news research library and converting it to a digital research center. The move will mean the loss of eight jobs. In email to staff, obtained by WebNewser, news president David Westin writes, “Today, many of the research tools we use are available online. Our extensive, hard copy library filled with periodicals and other materials is no longer necessary in the digital age.”

ABC has hired the consulting firm Library Associates to develop, in Westin’s words, “a state of the art research system tailored to our particular needs.”

Some of the current staff will remain. And the new DRC will move locations within ABC “to be closer to some of us who use the research facility most often,” writes Westin.

Click continued to read Westin’s email…


From: Westin, David L.
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 1:25 PM
To: ABCTV News ALL
Cc: Sweeney, Anne
Subject: News Research Library

Today, we begin the process of converting our existing research library to a digital research facility. Our library has served us well for many years, and all of us have benefited from the hard work of its staff. But the world has changed around us. Today, many of the research tools we use are available online. Our extensive, hard copy library filled with periodicals and other materials is no longer necessary in the digital age. The time has come to re-shape that library to reflect today’s world.

From now on, what has been the News Research Library will be the Digital Research Center. You will continue to receive the same exceptional service as you have in the past. But we’re developing, with an outside research consultant, a state of the art research system tailored to our particular needs. When this new system is completed, you will be able to get the information you need and conduct your own searches from your desktop.

In addition, we will have a core research staff to work with you on more in-depth reporting needs. And, we will have the capability of expanding the DRC as needed to support our coverage of special events and breaking news.

As before, all work done by the DRC will be kept entirely confidential.

The DRC will move next week from the 2nd floor of 47 West to the 4th floor of 147 to be closer to some of us who use the research facility most often. These changes will lead to a reduced staff, but we will ensure an orderly transition with some of the current library staff staying with us through the transition and perhaps beyond.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sending a training team to work with each broadcast and platform to teach all of us how to get what we need from the new system. Once we get our research capabilities up to date, we anticipate keeping them that way through regular updates to the DRC and your desktop research system, with appropriate training, as new resources and technologies become available.

Once we’re through the transition, we will be donating our current hard copy periodicals to a library in need. These materials have served us well, and we hope they will do the same for a deserving community.

If you have any questions about the DRC, please reach out to Bob Murphy, Renu Thomas, or Sandy Sidey.

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