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[Economics] CNN Begins Layoffs in What CEO Says Will Be a "Punch in the Gut" for the Network


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CNN informed its employees on Wednesday that it had begun layoffs, a move that is expected to affect hundreds of workers at the global news network and mark the organization's deepest cuts in years. Chris Licht, who took over as CEO of the chain in May, described the reductions in a memo sent to all staff as a "punch in the stomach" for the organization, telling employees that "it's incredibly hard to say goodbye to any member of the CNN team, it is much more difficult when there are several. Company employees had been anxiously preparing for the layoffs since Licht informed them last month that "disturbing" changes were coming.

Licht indicated that this Wednesday the company would notify the dismissal to a "limited number of people", mostly paid collaborators. He added that the company "will notify affected employees" this Thursday. And that when the cuts are finished "there will be more details".


The job cuts come as media companies face brutal economic headwinds that have hit the advertising industry. Licht noted in October, when he said big cuts were looming, that there is "widespread concern about the global economic outlook" and that CNN "must factor that risk into its long-term planning." Other media organizations have also cut costs as they work to better position themselves for tough economic times. Disney said last week that the company needed to restructure and AMC Networks announced Tuesday that it would cut 20% of its staff. Social media companies like Facebook parent Meta, which are equally dependent on ad revenue, have also made layoffs in recent months.

CNN, still posting hundreds of millions of dollars in profit, was spared cutbacks during the pandemic that wreaked havoc on the industry. The last major layoffs at the organization were in 2018, when fewer than 50 people lost their jobs as the company restructured its digital business. The cutbacks to the organization also come after CNN's former parent company WarnerMedia merged with Discovery earlier this year, creating a media giant mired in billions of dollars in debt and the need to reduce costs across the board. The merger had just been completed in April when the company announced it was shutting down the CNN+ streaming service a month after its launch.

Edited by SnO
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