Inside, Worldfocus blamed for layoffs

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Worldfocus, the new international news program from WNET/WLIW is “being blamed for deep layoffs at the stations,” reports the New York Times. “Some employees, none of whom would speak publicly for fear of angering management,” blame parent company’s spending on the new venture–$8 million, which came from company’s operating budget–for the loss of about 80 jobs two weeks ago. Many of the layoffs were in the local programming department. Neal Shapiro, president of, told the Times the layoffs were unrelated to Worldfocus. Instead, he cited declining underwriting and foundation funding as well as a decrease in endowment earnings and member support. Worldfocus landed its first outside financing last week, a $1 million grant from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. A WNET trustee matched that with another $1 million and two unnamed people contributed $500,000.