CNN Lays Off 40 Plus Journalists, But Is It All Bad News?

Tough news for any aspiring journalists as CNN announced that they have layed off more than 40 senior journalists as part of a recent reorganization of the company.  The plans were organized by the company chief executive, Jeff Zucker, in an attempt to restructure the business of the company, but it isn’t all bad news.

A CNN spokesperson told Politico that the recent layoffs allowed for the media outlet to bring on an additional 100 staff members, and that the company was “investing in journalism.”

“We’re expanding the definition of news,” the spokesperson told Politico. “We’re not abandoning news by any stretch of the imagination . . . there will be more people working at CNN today than last year.”

The senior staff members who worked for both CNN and HLN were terminated at the end of 2013, with the layoffs split between the two companies as reported by Capital New York.  According to the Financial Times, many of the senior staff members who were layed off were close to retirement.

The most recent rounds of layoffs allow CNN to devote more airtime to Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” and similar documentaries and unscripted reality series, according to Politico.

Zucker teamed up with general manager of HLN, Albie Hecht to shake things up at the sibling channel of CNN.  When Hecht took control of HLN last September, major plans were expected from the beginning.  Many are seeing this round of layoffs as the first round of changes for the company.

Hecht cancelled a number of daytime shows including “Raising America,” “Now in America” and “Evening Express” to make room for “News Now” which will air from 1 to 5 p.m. and a live addition of “Showbiz Tonight” at 6 p.m.

Zucker is said to have teamed up with Hecht to make HLN less reliant on “ratings bursts delivered by the courtroom-centric programming” it has gained a reputation for in recent years according to Capital New York.  For now, the courtroom programs remain a key fixture in the company’s lineup, most notably in prime time.

At CNN, Zuckers restructuring model is all a part of a larger plan to help regain the company’s 24-hour cable news leadership from Fox News channel.  Over the past few months he has made a number of changes to the network’s programming, including adding new presenters.

The media powerhouse recently hit a 20-year low in prime time ratings in the United States with an average viewership of 78,000 during the day and 98,000 in prime time, according to The Guardian.

About Sean Flynn

Sean Flynn is a recent graduate from City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Buffalo News, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times 'Fort Greene Local', The Daily Meal, and FoxNews.com.
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