New CEO Will Make Dramatic Changes at Fake News CNN

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Mark Thompson, the CNN chief executive appointed last year to modernize the news network, unveiled a set of sweeping changes. He plans to fire 100 staff and make CNN “future proof.” CNN plans to build a billion-dollar digital business. People are moving to livestream and leaving cable behind.

He’s trying to save the network. It won’t work unless he acquires new talent outside of the people who have lied to us for years. That was a problem for CNN+ – it was the same people doing the same thing we saw them do for years.

He worked for the BBC, so we’re not expecting great things but remain hopeful. Allegedly, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash were given strict instructions to run a clean, objective presidential debate. They did, and it was very unlike them. It was a good start.

Meanwhile, staffers have reportedly grown frustrated amid company-wide bonus cuts and the promotion of news executive Virginia Moseley, whom some employees have called an “a–hole” and “tyrant.”

1990 CNN BUSINESS, SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE

THE NEWS ISN’T JUST POLITICS

“We don’t believe news is just politics,” he told advertisers in New York in May, per the New York Post. “Business and tech are news. Climate and weather are news. Health, wellness, and living longer are news. So, expect to see us build new branded verticals in all these areas on TV, on our apps, and across our other platforms.”

He will have to cut 100 employees or 3% of the workforce, but they will get severance packages.

CNN has, for its four-decade history, relied heavily on carriage fees from the traditional cable news bundler. It’s a declining business that has been upended by the advent of streaming services such as Netflix. While the company is still profitable to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars each year, pivoting the network’s business away from the contracting cable industry, which provides the bulk of CNN’s revenue, to position it for the future will be an enormously difficult challenge.

“Turning a great news organization towards the future is not a one-day affair. It happens in stages and over time,” Thompson said in his memo to staff. “Today’s announcements do not answer every question or seek to solve every challenge we face. However, they do represent a significant step forward, and I hope you will read about them in that spirit.”

Need-to-Know News and the Sun Model

Thompson said CNN will create “products that will provide need-to-know news, analysis and context in compelling new formats and experiences.” He said the first product will launch by the end of 2024.

“We want to build on CNN.com’s reach with a new focus on engagement and frequency – how long our users spend with us and how often they return – by improving the quality of the product experience and giving users powerful reasons to come back to us more often,” Thompson said in his memo.

As he works to modernize CNN’s business, Thompson unveiled plans to embrace artificial intelligence tools, aiming to “reclaim the ‘pioneering spirit’ Ted Turner talked about at our founding and regain a leadership position in the news experiences of the future.”

Thompson said CNN will make a “strategic push” into AI to “determine how best to safely harness this emerging new technology to serve our audiences and deliver our journalistic goals more effectively and responsively.”

His transformative measures will also include a dramatic overhaul of CNN’s newsroom, which has been largely split into three divisions: US television, international television, and digital.

CNN will also further embrace a “follow the sun” model, in which news stories are overseen at any given time by the company’s bureaus worldwide. As part of that effort, Thompson said CNN’s Hong Kong bureau would see an “expanded role” and that the organization would “make greater use” of its bureaus in London and Los Angeles.

“This will streamline workflows across newsgathering and place editorial direction closer to the story,” Thompson explained. “It will better equip us to handle a wider array of platform needs around the clock and will mean we can flex news desk resources when the news cycle takes an unexpected turn.”

New Life with Anderson Cooper’s Producer and a Futures Lab

While Thompson primarily focused on digital offerings, he also announced plans to breathe new life into CNN’s television programming. Thompson said that Charlie Moore, the longtime “Anderson Cooper 360” executive producer recently promoted to vice president of prime-time programming, will “find ways to further develop and strengthen” the network’s television offerings.

Thompson further announced the creation of a “TV Futures Lab” that will “not only develop and manage streaming and (video on demand) programming for the Max platform but will lead new thinking about ways to migrate the linear news experience to other new digital environments.”

It sounds like they are giving up cable. They need to give up fake news.


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