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New AP Deal Sparks Layoff Fears Among CNN Staff

TL;DR intro

  • CNN Staffers' Fear:CNN staffers fear potential layoffs following a new deal with the Associated Press, marking the first time CNN will use AP's copy since 2010.
  • Mark Thompson's Strategy:The deal is part of CNN boss Mark Thompson's strategy to turn around the struggling network amid cord-cutting and declining ratings.
  • Future Concerns:Despite reassurances from CNN's spokeswoman, concerns remain about job cuts and the future direction of the network.

CNN staffers are increasingly anxious about potential layoffs following a new deal with the Associated Press (AP) to use its copy on CNN's website. This agreement, the first since CNN severed ties with the wire service 14 years ago, has sparked fears of further job cuts at the already struggling cable news network.

New Deal Sparks Concerns

The apprehensions among CNN employees were reported by Puck, which highlighted concerns about further staff reductions as part of CNN boss Mark Thompson's broader strategy to revitalize the network. CNN had previously canceled its contract with the AP in 2010 to focus on original reporting and expanding its global news coverage.

Despite these worries, a CNN spokeswoman denied that the new deal with the AP signified impending job cuts. “This allows our journalists to spend more time on enterprise reporting and less time on quick stories across platforms,” the representative said. “The goal is to enhance our editorial reach while allowing us to focus on key editorial priorities.”

Strategic Vision and Cost-Cutting Measures

Thompson, who has been vocal about the need for cost-cutting, hinted in April that there would be “significant opportunities for de-duplication of parallel organizations and structures and activities.” He emphasized the necessity of doing things “better, but also doing it less expensively,” addressing the network's “existential crisis” brought on by cord-cutting and the shrinking cable TV business.

Thompson's tenure has been marked by substantial challenges, including turning around CNN's lagging ratings compared to competitors like Fox News and MSNBC. In May, Thompson laid out a plan to advertisers that involved focusing on digital verticals, a strategy reminiscent of a plan launched by former CNN boss Jeff Zucker seven years ago.

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Employee Reactions and Company Morale

The deal with the AP has intensified concerns among CNN staffers already grappling with internal changes and financial pressures. These fears were compounded by Thompson's recent comments about potential cost-cutting measures and restructuring within the network.

Thompson's previous actions, including slashing staff bonuses by 15% to 20%, have added to the anxiety. Top anchors like Anderson Cooper, Jake Tapper, and Chris Wallace were among those affected by the bonus cuts, which were communicated via a company-wide email.

Future of CNN

Thompson's strategic vision for CNN includes a five-point plan announced on March 1, focusing on building a digital future, creating a global integrated multimedia news operation, future-proofing TV production, developing new revenue sources, and enhancing communication and culture. However, some insiders have criticized the plan as vague and insufficient.

Amid these changes, Thompson is also working to increase investment in CNN Originals, reversing a previous strategic move to cut spending on original programming. This shift aims to stabilize and modernize CNN's content offerings.

As CNN navigates its new deal with the Associated Press and continues to implement strategic changes, the network's staff remain concerned about potential layoffs and the future direction of the company. While the agreement with the AP is intended to enhance editorial reach and streamline operations, the impact on employee morale and job security remains uncertain.

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