CNN started their layoffs on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a staff-wide memo sent out this past Wednesday.
CNN’s Chris Licht said they are laying off employees and paid contributors, one of the latest shake-ups after Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. took control of the news channel from AT&T Inc. earlier this year.
The layoffs landed about a month after Licht sent a company-wide memo foreshadowing restructuring at CNN, saying that recession will mean “noticeable change to this organization” that “affect people, budgets, and projects.”
The company’s Q3 ratings were the lowest among adults 25-54 since 2012, according to Neilsen data. It was also CNN’s least-watched quarter overall since Q2 2015.
Chris Licht, who took over as chief executive of the network in May, described the cuts in an all-staff memo to the company and told employees that “it is incredibly hard to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many.”
Employees at the company had been anxiously bracing for the layoffs since Licht informed them last month that “unsettling” changes lie ahead.
CNN’s Letter to Employees
To my CNN colleagues,
Our people are the heart and soul of this organization. It is incredibly hard to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many. I recently described this process as a gut punch, because I know that is how it feels for all of us.
Today we will notify a limited number of individuals, largely some of our paid contributors, as part of a recalibrated reporting strategy. Tomorrow, we will notify impacted employees, and tomorrow afternoon I will follow up with more details on these changes.
It will be a difficult time for everyone. If your job has been impacted, you will learn more through an in-person meeting or via Zoom, depending on your location. In those meetings, you will receive information specific to you about notice period or any severance that would apply, and your anticipated last day. I want to be clear that everyone who is bonus eligible will still receive their 2022 bonuses, which are determined by company performance.
I know these changes affect both our departing colleagues and those who remain, and we have resources designed to support you. I will include a link to those resources in my follow up email tomorrow.
Let’s take care of each other this week.
Chris Licht was asked by his boss David Zaslav earlier this year to make $100 million in cuts. According to a report, it was a broader part of the budget-slicing plan by parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.
Earlier in the year, Licht told employees that job cuts would not happen. However, the boss’s orders later in the year changed the path.
On Wednesday, a CNN insider told Fox News Digital that “morale is as low as it’s ever been” at the news outlet. The insider said that some employees would welcome the severance and a fresh start if they did lose their jobs.
Licht said the pink slips would begin with “a limited number of individuals, largely some of our paid contributors” as part of a “recalibrated reporting strategy.”
CNN has roughly 4,000 employees worldwide. How many will be affected by the upcoming layoffs has yet to be determined.
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