CNN’s new boss, Chris Licht announced this week that the network will be laying off a number of its high-profile employees and the company is completely gutting its sister network, HLN.
All live programming on HLN was slashed along with programs like “Morning Express with Rob Meade” and “Weekend Express,”
CNN reporters, Alison Kosik, Martin Savidge, Alex Field, Mary Ann Fox, and Chris Cillizza were all laid off as part of Licht’s effort to make the network less biased.
CNBC reported this week that the network had let go of “hundreds of staffers” out of the network’s roughly 4,400 employees.
Licht said that the goal of this strategic decision was to “better align our people, processes and resources with our future priorities, strengthen our ability to deliver on CNN’s core journalistic mission and enable us to innovate in the years ahead.”
The memo announced that moving forward, the would primarily focus on programming, news gathering, and digital.
Citing the memo, some of the major changes that he announced were:
HLN: Beginning December 6, CNN will no longer produce live programming for HLN and instead will simulcast CNN This Morning. HLN Crime programming will move under the WBD Networks led by Kathleen Finch and will be merged with ID. I want to take a moment to thank Robin Meade — she is not only an exceptionally popular anchor but also one of the longest-running morning hosts in history. I know the HLN audience will miss her and the other HLN talent.
CNN International: CNN International is reorganizing some of its teams and bureaus, and effective immediately, the 5:00-5:30 pm ET show will be replaced by a simulcast of CNN US for that half hour.
CNN en Español: CNN’s linear network will seek to expand its audience by diversifying the network’s programming beyond the news. We will continue to produce news for CNNE, and throughout next year, we will look to develop a far more robust digital platform for CNNE with the aim of launching it in 2024. We believe that investment will better serve and significantly grow our Spanish-language news audience, and we will have more to share on that in 2023.
U.S. Newsgathering: We are restructuring across some of our beats, realigning resources to staff up in some units and in more areas around the country. This will help us deliver on our goal of covering the United States more broadly. Many of the staff reductions in Newsgathering will be offset by the addition of new roles to best serve our audience across platforms.
Contributors: We are also shifting our approach to paid contributors. In some areas, we will rely more on our CNN journalists. Overall, we will engage contributors who are subject-matter experts that expand and diversify the viewpoints we bring to our audience.
Programming: Our programming teams will see some reductions in show staff and, in some cases, the combination of teams for our dayside and weekend lineups.
Creative Marketing: The Creative Marketing team will see an overall reduction in size, realigning around in-house production and consolidating creative and strategy roles in New York. Roles will be added to both support that works and expand our digital and growth marketing efforts.
Research: Research is reorganizing to focus resources on CNN’s core businesses and to optimize our recently integrated Digital Analytics and Data Science teams.
Operations: The Operations teams are restructuring to align with the changes to other units across the organization.
CNN Digital: CNN Digital conducted an exercise earlier this fall to ensure they were best structured for the future. They made changes then and, as a result, there are no further impacts in this process.
Licht argues that these changes are necessary in order to make the company stronger and put it in a position to get bigger investments in the future without worrying about failure, possibly referring to the network’s “revolutionary streaming service” CNN+ that was canceled shortly after its mega launch.
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