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David Westin to ABC Staff: New GMA ‘Off to a Strong Start…’ ‘This is a Marathon’

ABC News president David Westin sent a memo to the ABC News staff this morning about the first few days of the new GMA and the last few days of “World News with Charles Gibson.”

You will have noticed that, for both GMA and World News, our transitions by design have been low key. As we showed with the launch of Nightline, it is better to build steadily and perform over time than to launch a major campaign targeting the first day; in the end, this is not about the first day, and it is not about us.

Full memo after the jump…


From: Westin, David L.
Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2009 9:59 AM
To: #ABCTV News ALL
Cc: Sweeney, Anne X.
Subject: GMA and World News

With Diane’s sign-off last Friday and the new GMA team’s debut on Monday, we are off to a strong start in the morning. It’s a credit to Robin, George, Sam, Juju, and the entire team at GMA that the transition has been so smooth. We all knew Diane’s departure would be a challenge for the program and the audience, but in week one we have held our own and put on a program each day that we can be proud of. But as I have said many times, when you are on the air day in and day out, you cannot measure your accomplishments in terms of days or weeks. This is a marathon and we need to stay focused on the long-term.

At World News, Charlie will say good-bye tomorrow, and Diane will be in the chair on Monday at 6:30 as our audience would expect. It is a busy time of year for people, but like Charlie, whose first broadcast was Memorial Day 2006, Diane wants the focus to be on the news we report, and that’s where I expect it to remain. The audience knows Diane well; all of us know the energy and strength as a journalist she will bring to carry on the best tradition of World News.

You will have noticed that, for both GMA and World News, our transitions by design have been low key. As we showed with the launch of Nightline, it is better to build steadily and perform over time than to launch a major campaign targeting the first day; in the end, this is not about the first day, and it is not about us. Our focus must be and remain on the audience and what matters to the people we serve every day. If we show a steadfast devotion to serving that audience, all of our programs will be successful over the long-term – which is our goal.

Thank you for all your hard work.

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