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CNN signals lay-offs

October 27, 2022

By Chris Forrester

CNN is expected to confirm widespread staff layoffs this week. CNN CEO Chris Licht sent a memo to staff on  October 26th said the news organisation’s aim is to have most of these staffing decisions made by the end of the year so it could start 2023 “feeling settled and prepared for the future”.

Licht had already cautioned staff that there would be more changes at CNN and that staffers “might not understand it or like it”.

“As many of you know, I have also spent much of that time doing formal business reviews with senior staff to identify areas where we should make changes, investments, and reductions to match our future priorities,” Licht said in his memo, adding: “We have also begun to reduce or eliminate areas that aren’t core to our mission. All these moves are designed to keep CNN essential across platforms to ensure that wherever and however people get their news, they must have CNN.”

“There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook, and we must factor that risk into our long-term planning,” Licht continued. “All this together will mean noticeable change to this organisation. That, by definition, is unsettling. These changes will not be easy because they will affect people, budgets, and projects.”

The new memo did not explain where the cuts would fall, other than to say “[CNN] will be strategic in this process and will minimise the impact on our core newsgathering operation and Digital, both of which have already executed smart changes.”

“When we conclude this process, CNN will still be the largest, most-respected newsgathering organization in the world. We will continue to cover any story, anywhere, any time—with more resources than anyone else. Full stop,” concluded Licht.

CNN has already cancelled the CNN+ streaming service which launched on March 29th and closed just a month later on April 28th. Market reports suggest that CNN had invested some $300 million in CNN+.

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