The job cuts, which include the TV station’s investigative reporting team, are believed to part of layoffs that KOMO’s owner, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, is instituting at its stations.
KOMO has cut several positions in Seattle, including its investigative reporting team, according to several sources who asked not to be identified because of their affiliations with the network.
KOMO’s parent company confirmed the cuts, saying that 10 positions were eliminated, including three in the newsroom.
The cuts were announced to the newsroom Wednesday morning. The TV station’s Problem Solvers investigative team, which includes well-known reporters Jon Humbert and Tracy Vedder, was dissolved.
Humbert, Vedder and producer Kelly Just are being laid off, and Michelle Esteban will become a general assignment reporter, two sources said.
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“I feel like we are being bled,” a KOMO staffer said Wednesday. Other sources confirmed the reports.
KOMO’s parent company, Cockeysville, Md.-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, confirmed the cuts Thursday, adding that it is cutting 54 positions across the country. The company has more than 4,000 employees total in the U.S.
Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s vice president of news, said Sinclair is still hiring for more than 600 open positions.
“It’s certainly a difficult situation and it is necessary from time to time to restructure some aspects of news operations and station operations,” he said.
In a now deleted tweet, a KOMO staffer wrote Wednesday that the news director was announcing job cuts in the newsroom. Another staffer responded to tweets, saying, “We are losing some of our strongest staff.”
KOMO, an ABC affiliate, laid off nearly 20 people in 2013, though Sinclair never confirmed the cuts. Sinclair, which owns or operates 173 stations around the country, bought KOMO parent Fisher Communications that year.
Local KOMO management “has been supportive, caring and helpful toward the next steps for us all,” one employee whose job was eliminated said Thursday.
The reductions come at a time in which financial pressures are leading to widespread layoffs and uncertainty at media companies nationally and locally.
NBC News shut down its Seattle-based Breaking News startup, and The Seattle Globalist, a nonprofit news site, is working to raise money from subscribers after the University of Washington announced it would no longer fund the site. Northwest Cable News is scheduled to go dark at the end of this week. The Seattle Times said late last year it is planning newsroom cuts.