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i24NEWS Logo.(Photo by: I24NEWS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
i24NEWS denies planned staff cuts, reaffirms commitment to Israel-based programming
By HANNAH BROWN
08/02/2019
The company statement said there were no plans to cut back on the French and Arabic programming, saying, “If anything, we are expanding.”
In the wake of five staff members being let go from the Jaffa offices of the international news channel, i24NEWS, there were concerns among staff that this was a harbinger of more firings to come, but the station released a statement denying that there were any big changes ahead.

In the unstable world of journalism in the digital age, employees often wonder whether their jobs are secure, and several former and current employees of the station said they feared that there would be major cuts following the recent acquisition by i24NEWS parent company, Altice USA, of Cheddar, a digital startup.

The cancellation of three shows, Spin Room with Ami Kaufman, Perspectives with Tracy Alexander and a program featuring documentaries, as well as the layoffs of five employees connected to the shows sparked worry.

Speaking off the record, current and former employees said they were concerned over the addition of three hours a day of US-centered content from Cheddar. They also wondered about the future of the French- and Arabic-language studios in Jaffa, if the channel is adding US-based content.

In a statement, the company denied that further cuts are planned: “i24NEWS has enjoyed the benefit of Altice USA acquiring Cheddar. This has allowed us to continue to appeal to the American audience while retaining our DNA as an international channel based in the Middle East. i24NEWS is dedicated to rolling news as well as to the expansion of national US coverage. As a result of the merger, we profited from additional content by Cheddar, therefore we unfortunately had to cancel two programs and one documentary. Sadly, five members of staff that were directly or indirectly involved in the production of those programs were let go. In most cases, i24NEWS made every effort to offer an alternative position. We strongly deny the rumor of mass layoffs. Those changes were made due to the acquisition of Cheddar and therefore only concern the US channel of i24NEWS, which contrary to rumors, continues to thrive.”

The company statement said there were no plans to cut back on the French and Arabic programming, saying, “If anything, we are expanding.”

A company spokesperson emphasized that the programming changes were all previously announced in a press release a few weeks ago, which read in part: “i24NEWS, the global current affairs news network from Altice USA . . . is expanding its coverage in the U.S. to include top national news stories and increased live coverage from the U.S.”

It went on to say, “The new domestic coverage will be delivered daily on i24NEWS by the Cheddar anchor team with additional reporting” done out of Cheddar’s D.C. bureau. It also said, “i24NEWS will continue to air throughout the weekday its daily news programs from the heart of the Middle East as well as the network’s original live primetime slate from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM ET.”
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