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CNN Announces Layoffs

BY Admin  January 17, 2001 at 12:00 PM EDT

One-third of the layoffs will come from CNN’s 750-member Internet staff, another third from its programming departments, and the rest from various other units across the country.

The cuts will help pool the network’s radio, television and interactive newsgathering groups into a more cohesive unit, according to CNN’s financial network CNNfn.

“These changes will improve CNN’s ability to provide the world’s most timely news coverage,” said Tom Johnson, the network’s chairman and CEO. “Today, we are reshaping how we gather and distribute news and information across all forms of media. This will enable us to deliver the highest quality journalism even more effectively, while maintaining the excellence of integrity that are the standards of CNN.”

The announcement comes less than a week after the federal government gave the go-ahead for Internet juggernaut America Online to buy the network’s parent company, Time Warner.

Other changes include the creation of a central coordinating news desk at the network’s Atlanta headquarters and the cancellation of several business programs.

The staff cuts come just days after NBC announced a similar 10 percent belt-tightening. Operations like News Corp. and The New York Times are also trimming in their Internet operations.

In recent months, CNN has adjusted its on-air programming and anchor rotation as well, a move some analysts say is a response to increased competition from personality-driven programming on rival cable networks MSNBC and Fox News Channel.

Talk-centered programs featuring network personalities have followed on CNN, like “Spin Room” with pundits Bill Press and Tucker Carlson and “The Point” with “feisty” legal analyst Greta Van Susteren. CNN’s prime time news programs have gone the same route, with “Wolf Blitzer Reports” featuring the popular former White House reporter and “CNN Tonight” with Bill Hemmer, who gained notoriety covering the Florida election standoff.