Layoffs at ABC News last week, part of The Walt Disney Company’s corporate restructuring, have affected talent in front of and behind the camera at the network. Among those let go were national news correspondents Clayton Sandell and Kyra Phillips and The View executive producer Hilary Estey McLaughlin.
But the layoffs across the news division had sports media consequences as well. (These are separate from the layoffs at ESPN, the most recent wave of which affected 300 employees.) Notably at FiveThirtyEight, where baseball writer Travis Sawchik was one of the cuts. He joined the data-driven analysis platform in 2018 after previously writing for FanGraphs and The Athletic.
Sawchik announced his layoff himself on Twitter.
Some personal news: I am a free agent. I am among those being laid off as ABC News reduces staff. I look forward to whatever is next in journalism, or baseball, or elsewhere. My direct messages and email are open.
— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) December 7, 2020
Prior to writing baseball for those national outlets, he covered the Pirates for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Clemson sports for the Charleston Post and Courier.
Additionally, Sawchik has written two books focused on the use of data and analytics in baseball: Big Data Baseball, which looked at the Pirates’ use of analytics to compete as a small market team in Major League Baseball, and The MVP Machine, on how MLB players and teams utilized data to further develop their skills.
An exact number of the layoffs at ABC News isn’t certain, though reports say the cuts will constitute a “low single-digit” percentage of what was a 1,400-person staff of reporters, producers, and executives in the news division. The layoffs are part of a company-wide restructuring at Disney, which will also affect 100 executives and 32,000 employees (28,000 of whom have already been dismissed) in the Parks, Experiences, and Resorts division.
Sawchik joins a growing number of sportswriters laid off amid Disney’s cuts during the past month, including ESPN’s Ivan Maisel, Claire Smith, Sam Miller, Wayne Drehs, and Ian O’Connor.