Sinclair Broadcast Group plans to shutdown two newsrooms in small markets “to ensure our long-term success,” leaving people with fewer options to receive local news.
This week, the broadcast giant announced it was shutting down news operations at WNWO-TV, NBC 24 Toledo, Ohio, by mid May.
“NBC 24 is changing the way we produce news in Toledo to ensure our long-term success,” the statement read on the station’s website. “Beginning May 15, The National Desk, which provides real-time national and regional news from Sinclair’s television stations across the U.S., will air during our regularly scheduled news time periods.”
Across the country, KTVL-TV, the Southern Oregon and Northern California TV station plans to lay off the entire news staff, according to employees at the station. Instead of local news, the station will air “nationally syndicated programming,” similar to what will happened to WNWO-TV.
Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) obtained a statement from Sinclair about the future of KTVL-TV which confirmed the network’s national news desk will take over starting Monday, May 15.
“The National Desk, which provides real-time national and regional news from Sinclair’s television stations across the US, will air during KTVL’s regularly scheduled news time periods, with an opportunity for local news cut-ins in the newscast,” the statement read.
In OPB’s reporting, an employee for KTVL-TV spoke on the record about how the media giant didn’t plan to make the announcement to viewers the day the station will cease news operations.
“They were planning to keep the entire community, all of Southern Oregon in the dark, all of our viewers in the dark, until our last day, until our last broadcast,” said Taylar Ansures, who is a digital content producer for the Medford station.
Ansures told OPB the closure will impact all 17 people on their news staff, including managers.
Major layoffs have been common as of late. Last month, laid off 10% of its workforce, and this month BuzzFeed announced it was shuttering BuzzFeed News.