You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CNN lays off 50, cites tech changes

Eliminated posts in photo, editing realms

CNN announced the elimination of at least 50 staff positions Friday as the company follows through on the results of a three-year review that found technical advances reduced the need for certain posts such as photographers and editors. Layoffs include CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, Gotham, Washington, Los Angeles and Miami; at least a dozen cuts come from the news org’s D.C. operation.

The Turner news cabler has been “analyzing how we utilize and deploy photojournalists,” senior VP Jack Womack wrote in an email to staff of the review. “Consumer and pro-sumer technologies are simpler and more accessible,” he wrote. “Small cameras are now high broadcast quality. More of this technology is in the hands of more people. After completing this analysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company.”

A similar paragraph explained that higher-tech editing software allowed more remote editing, and thus called for fewer editors.

Worldwide, CNN has had two zero-sum reorgs since August, neither of which resulted in headcount losses. But this latest round differs in that laid-off staffers have not been invited to apply for newly created jobs within the division.

In October, the company’s Atlanta office eliminated and then immediately hired for roughly the same number of positions — slightly more, in fact — and required staffers in flux to either accept severance or reapply for roles with broader job descriptions.

A similar restructuring — also with no resulting loss in headcount — took place at CNN sister net HLN in August, as that network ramped up to the launch of web initiative HLNtv.

HLN topper Scot Safon essentially told staff then not to worry: “(W)e are reorganizing the dayside editorial team to best meet the audience’s multiplatform demands,” he said in an email. “Those affected by this reorganization have been notified and new opportunities within this team will be posted shortly.”

A CNN spokeswoman said Friday that while she didn’t want to minimize the difficulty of losing a job, the net planned to staff back up in the near future.

“We anticipate the number of positions in the overall organization in the next six months will remain roughly flat with what we had this past year,” she said.

“We cannot begin to thank these individuals enough for their service to CNN,” Womack said. “They leave with our respect and our sincere best wishes.”

Technology is causing newsrooms nationwide to shrink, or at least to require more workproduct from the people employed. Bridget Grogan, who runs the U of Florida’s ABC News on Campus (which contributes reporting to the Alphabet’s local news bureaus), told Variety last September that new TV reporters were expected to be multidisciplinary. “We’re getting calls from newsroom directors who want students who are able to write, post to the web, and blog,” she said, so her students are trained to shoot, edit and upload footage, as well. “Our students know how to be a one-man band.”

Thus, career photographers and video editors are finding that there’s less demand for specialization and more jobs for jack-of-all-trades generalists.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • David Goodman

    WGA West's David Goodman on Agency Strategy: 'We'll Start Meeting as Soon as Possible'

    David Goodman, who was resoundingly re-elected president of the Writers Guild of America West on Monday, said the guild plans to meet with several talent agencies soon in an effort to ease the impasse over packaging fees and affiliated production. “Many agencies had indicated that they wanted to wait to see the results of the [...]

  • THE TITAN GAMES -- "The Titan

    'Titan Games' Renewed for Season 2 at NBC

    NBC has renewed the Dwayne Johnson-hosted competition series “The Titan Games” for a second season. The series features men and women battling opponents in head-to-head physical challenges designed by Johnson. Winners advance to Mt. Olympus, a test of speed, strength, agility and endurance. “When we launched ‘The Titan Games,’ we set out to create an [...]

  • David Goodman

    David Goodman Re-Elected President of Writers Guild of America West

    David Goodman has been convincingly re-elected to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America West, beating Phyllis Nagy in a bitter contest that became a referendum on the guild’s ongoing battle with talent agents. Goodman received 4,395 votes to Nagy’s 1,282 in an election that yielded record turnout among the WGA [...]

  • first wives club BET

    TV Review: 'The First Wives Club' on BET Plus

    Launching a series based on a beloved property is harder than it seems. On the one hand, you get the immediate boost of name recognition to lure in preexisting fans. On the other, straying too far from the plot and/or spirit of the original risks sparking their righteous wrath. It’s a tricky balance to strike, [...]

  • Thomas Golubic8th Annual Guild of Music

    Guild of Music Supervisors President: 'The Economics of the Job Don't Work Anymore'

    The Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) hosted its 5th annual “State of Music in Media” conference on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Los Angeles Film School. Featuring a wide array of panel discussions on all manner of issues related to music in film, television and advertising, the confab drew top composers, music supervisors, licensing and [...]

  • Christopher Eccleston Anorexia

    Christopher Eccleston Reveals He Was 'Very Ill' With Anorexia While Filming 'Doctor Who'

    “Doctor Who” actor Christopher Eccleston has opened up about his anorexia, body dysmorphia and suicidal thoughts. Eccleston, who played the ninth incarnation of the Doctor, made the revelations in his forthcoming autobiography “I Love the Bones of You: My Father and the Making of Me.” “Many times I’ve wanted to reveal that I’m a lifelong [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content