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CBS News London Bureau Cuts Staff

In another example of international downsizing by American networks, TVNewser has learned CBS News is letting go four longtime camera/sound crews from the London bureau.

CBS News EVP Paul Friedman made the trip to London earlier this week — to a CBS News operation once headed by Edward R. Murrow — to deliver the bad news.

Gone are cameraman Siphiwo Ralo, a South African who, in the early ’90′s, helped the network get access to the ghettos as apartheid was coming to an end. He’d been with CBS since 1985. Also gone, Nick Turner, who learned of the changes via phone. He is undergoing cancer treatment and not working at the moment. Cameraman Massimo Mariani and sound man Andy Stevenson are also being let go. The men have covered war zones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia and beyond.

While two photographers will remain on staff, London producers will be doing more shooting for correspondents Mark Phillips and Elizabeth Palmer. Separate from this week’s news, correspondent Richard Roth, who has been in CBS’ London bureau since 1998, is leaving the network.

The CBS News London bureau was shaken to the core on Memorial Day 2006 when camerman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan were killed in Baghdad while on assignment with former CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier.

The crews are being given a year’s salary and could freelance for CBS in the future, but sources tell us they don’t expect much work.

And CBS is not alone when it comes to international downsizing.

All three U.S. broadcast networks have made cuts in international newsgathering in recent years as costs rise and viewership, and the advertising revenue which pays the bills, declines. In 2008, NBC’s London Bureau saw a reorganization and staff buyouts as the network moved in with its British broadcasting partner ITN.

Last year, ABC News cut 20 employees in their London bureau, or about 30% of the staff.

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