Friday, January 6, 2017

Report: Restructuring Layoffs Hit KOMO-TV In Seattle

KOMO -TV4 has cut several positions in Seattle, including its investigative reporting team, according to several sources who asked not to be identified because of their affiliations with the network.

The Seattle Times reports KOMO’s parent company confirmed the cuts, saying that 10 positions were eliminated, including three in the newsroom.

The cuts were announced to the newsroom Wednesday morning. The TV station’s Problem Solvers investigative team, which includes well-known reporters Jon Humbert and Tracy Vedder, was dissolved.

Humbert, Vedder and producer Kelly Just are being laid off, and Michelle Esteban will become a general assignment reporter, two sources said.

KOMO’s parent company, Cockeysville, Md.-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, confirmed the cuts Thursday, adding that it is cutting 54 positions across the country. The company has more than 4,000 employees total in the U.S.

Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s vice president of news, said Sinclair is still hiring for more than 600 open positions.

“It’s certainly a difficult situation and it is necessary from time to time to restructure some aspects of news operations and station operations,” he said.

KOMO, an ABC affiliate, laid off nearly 20 people in 2013, though Sinclair never confirmed the cuts. Sinclair, which owns or operates 173 stations around the country, bought KOMO parent Fisher Communications that year.

Local KOMO management “has been supportive, caring and helpful toward the next steps for us all,” one employee whose job was eliminated said Thursday.

The reductions come at a time in which financial pressures are leading to widespread layoffs and uncertainty at media companies nationally and locally.

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