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Posts Tagged ‘Mimi Gurbst’

Who Is To Blame For The Broadcast News Decline?

ABCN_2.23.jpg The fallout from the New York Observer article about departing ABC News producer Mimi Gurbst continues. This weekend, analyst Andrew Tyndall weighed in with what might be the most eloquent take on what happened, and what it really means.

For those not familiar with the case: after the New York Observer wrote a story about Gurbst leaving ABC to become a high school guidance counselor, we reported that commenters flooded the story with ad hominems leveled at her and other ABC News executives.

Tyndall looks beyond the comments, and sees frustration that is justified, but misguided.

The problem, he says, is not incompetence by “the suits” but rather an artifact of what happens when a once-stable business destabilizes under new competition.

He writes:

What I find disappointing about this thread is its underlying wishful thinking. The rage against Gurbst herself and, by extension, against management as a whole, seems to blind commenters to the fact that it is not some executive failure that is at root responsible for the decline of the prestige of ABC News–the wish that, somehow, all this could have been prevented if only the suits had made better decisions. Well, that is not true. Broadcast television as a whole is in secular decline. This decline has exposed corrupt and counterproductive management practices that prosperity had masked. By fixating so passionately on abuses in the executive ranks, this thread has been unable to visualize a viable, post-broadcast future for ABC News. Such a future has to be mapped out at the corporate level, one tier above president [David] Westin.

Tyndall’s analysis rings true. As we wrote yesterday, the cable news channels currently rule the news roost when it comes to revenues and profits. The decline of ABC News (or CBS News) has less to do with the people running it than it does with the fact that the broadcast business models can no longer support the news structure that had been built up over the decades. Large scale layoffs were inevitable, and a decline in quality would logically follow.

So what can ABC News do? Tyndall has an idea:

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For Departing ABC News Exec, Where the Story Ends, Commentary Begins

Mimi Gurbst is leaving ABC News. The longtime “World News” senior producer is leaving TV to become a high school guidance counselor — a fact written up earlier this week by The New York Observer‘s Felix Gillette. But the story does not end there.

W_5.14.gifWebNewser’s Alex Weprin shows what happens when online commenters pick up where the story leaves off.

ABC News Senior Producer Becoming Guidance Counselor

The NY Observer’s Felix Gillette writes about Mimi Gurbst, the “ABC World News” senior producer who’s leaving the network later this year to become a high school guidance counselor in a surprising career switch-over.

It’ll be a big change for the 30-year ABC vet — though some might argue that moving from a newsroom to a high school won’t be exactly be a complete u-turn — but her soon-to-be-former boss, “ABC World News” EP Jon Banner, can see how it makes sense for her:

“She has spent immense amounts of time and patience counseling all of us, helping us through lots of difficult times, and giving us advice on what to do,” he added. “I can only imagine how lucky every child will be who someday walks into her office for advice.”

A spokesperson told the Observer that her departure is unrelated to the recent staff cuts at ABC News. Gurbst became the full-time senior producer for “World News” in 2007.

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Staff Changes at ABC ‘World News’

diane_logo_1-6.jpgIt’s a new year, the newscast has a new anchor, and the staff has seen its first rearrangement. Yesterday, ABC “World News” EP Jon Banner announced some reassignments in his staff now that Diane Sawyer‘s iteration of the program has been launched.

Senior producers Mimi Gurbst and Tom Johnson have essentially switched roles starting today. Gurbst will handle domestic news and Johnson will take charge of features and long-term planning. In a note to staff, Banner said Johnson will be, “overseeing our new, reenergized closer look segment.”

“World News” is also adding “Good Morning America” producer Margaret Aro who will produce some of Sawyer’s overseas reporting.

Banner said the changes come “with our focus now firmly on the future.”