CNN to Lay Off 100 Staffers as It Preps Major Revamp of Digital Efforts… Kills Opinion Section…

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CNN CEO Mark Thompson told staff Wednesday that its first digital subscription product will launch this year, and that it is exploring a “strategic push into AI.”

Layoffs will once again hit CNN as the cable news channel reorganizes in a push to expand its digital businesses.

CNN CEO Mark Thompson outlined his digital vision in a lengthy memo to staff Wednesday morning, announcing plans to build a flurry of digital products, including a subscription offering before the end of the year, plans to launch other paid offerings built around lifestyle journalism and a “strategic push into AI.”

In his note, Thompson said that about 100 roles will be cut, representing just shy of 3 percent of CNN’s workforce. He will host a town hall with staff later in the day to further elaborate on the plan.

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“Wherever possible, we’ve closed open positions rather than target currently occupied roles,” Thompson wrote. “However, some of our colleagues will learn today that their jobs are being eliminated or are at risk.”

CNN last had significant layoffs in late 2022 under previous CEO Chris Licht. Those cuts included major reductions at the HLN channel as well as at CNN International, along with a reevaluation of its on-air contributor deals.

The CNN team working on the news network’s Opinion output was let go today. The contributors and editors were gathered and informed that they would be terminated with an end date of August 9, according to people there.

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The move is part of a wider cost cutting measure announced this morning by CEO Mark Thompson who unveiled a broad global restructure of CNN’s content output across digital, video and TV. The restructure comes almost a year after Thompson took charge of the network after the disastrous term of his predecessor Chris Licht. Thompson is reviving subscription products launching later this year, after Licht executed a plan to shutter an earlier CNN streaming product conceived under former leader Jeff Zucker.

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