CNN’s Brian Stelter addressed the network’s widespread layoffs Sunday morning on his program “Reliable Sources” (video below).
“This week was a very painful week here,” Stelter said, referring to layoffs at the cable news channel and sister network HLN, which included the axing of Jane Velez-Mitchell’s self-titled show and the disbanding of CNN’s entertainment unit.
Stelter went on to say the layoffs were due in part to a changing media landscape. “There is some overall shrinking going on,” he said. “But the better word for what’s happening is reshaping — through layoffs, through cuts, through new investment. Reshaping for the digital future, that really feels more like the digital present.”
The “Reliable Sources” host also blamed Wall Street.
“CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, has been under Wall Street pressure to pump up its stock price, especially since Time Warner rejected a lucrative bid from Rupert Murdoch over the summer,” he said.
The past two weeks have been tumultuous for CNN, to say the least.
On Oct. 6, CNN and HLN parent company, Turner Broadcasting, announced it planned to lay off 1,475 full-time employees, a 10 percent reduction in staff.
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Atlanta-based Turner, which is owned by Time Warner, said employees from 18 different global locations would be affected.
Two days later, job cuts hit the CNN Center in Atlanta and the Turner Broadcasting Techwood Campus, which is also located in Atlanta. Most of the layoffs were believed to be from the Sales Departments at CNN and HLN, as well as some workers from TNT.
Then on Oct. 14, Jane Velez-Mitchell’s self-titled show on HLN was canceled, with Velez-Mitchell and her show staff being cut. CNN’s entertainment unit, which covered red carpet events and awards shows on both coasts, was also disbanded. Additionally, Christiane Amanpour’s entire four-person New York staff was let go, and Northeast bureau chief Darius Walker was cut. Walker had been with CNN for 18 years, and an insider described his exit to TheWrap as a “gut-wrenching” loss.
The next day, “Crossfire,” “Unguarded” with
Then on Thursday, CNN laid off KC Estenson, SVP and GM of its digital unit as part of the ongoing network restructuring.
The job cuts followed voluntary buyouts that were offered to 550 employees division-wide in August. As TheWrap previously reported, if not enough staffers accepted the voluntary buyouts, layoffs were to follow. About 130 CNN Worldwide employees elected to take a buyout.
Editor’s note: Anita Bennett previously worked at CNN as a producer in Atlanta and Los Angeles.