Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Heartbreak: Massive Job Cuts at CBS News

I blame Dan Rather and Mary Mapes for this. Five years after their perfidy the ill effects are still being felt by CBS. The news organization lost all credibility and has just never recovered.
By Monday afternoon, staffers from Washington to L.A. were sputtering in disbelief as they heard of top producers on the chopping block—particularly Mark Katkov and Jill Rosenbaum in D.C. and Roberta Hollander and Barbara Pierce in L.A. These were seasoned veterans, part of the old school known back in the Dan Rather days as “the Hard Corps.” Over the years, they had somehow managed to outlive every big buzz saw to cut through the newsroom. They knew how to get more from less. Each thought of himself as worth five producers at ABC News. Their theme song was Merle Haggard’s “Holding Things Together.” It was hard to imagine what the already third-place morning and evening news operations would look like without them.

The most disturbing news of the day for many observers was that Larry Doyle would no longer be working for CBS News.

Mr. Doyle, according to CBS News legend, joined the organization some 40 years ago, when then D.C. bureau chief Bill Small found him working as a porter at a Washington hotel. Mr. Small promptly made Mr. Doyle the bureau’s go-to “dogrobber”—the guy you sent into nasty situations to stare down snarling subjects and get the job done. From there, Mr. Doyle gradually worked his way up the news ladder, eventually becoming the network’s top war producer, churning out great television from every hellhole on the planet—including Baghdad, where he served as the network’s bureau chief during the early years of the ongoing war.

Reached the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 2, Dan Rather recounted various stories of Mr. Doyle’s heroism in the field, including his impressive management of gun-toting teenagers in Somalia. “He’s one of the all-time greats,” said Mr. Rather. “He’s the soul of the place.”
Maybe Rather can help support him with his many millions.

Or maybe the grossly overpaid Katie Couric can.
CBSNEWS anchorwoman and 60 MINUTES contributor Katie Couric faces a dramatic pay cut at the network, insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

CBS boss Les Moonves is determined to save money and trim expenses -- from top to bottom -- at the former crown jewel of broadcasting.

Couric, the highest paid TV news personality in history, commands over $14 million a year, plus bumps for non-EVENING NEWS appearances.

But her salary is now in the direct line of fire, network insiders explain, and a populist backlash against Couric's cash is said to be forming inside the newsroom.

"She makes enough to pay 200 news reporters $75,000 a year!" demands a veteran producer. "It's complete insanity."

The angry source continues: "We report with great enthusiasm how much bankers are making, how it is out of step with reality during a recession. We'll, look at Katie!"

Couric's $300,000 a week paycheck has become the obsession of disgruntled CBS staff, just as deep layoffs rock the fishbowl.

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