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CNN Cuts 50 Staff Members

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Employees in New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Miami and Los Angeles were let go after a three-year internal review.

NEW YORK – It was not a happy Friday for about 50 CNN/U.S. staffers who got pink slips today as the company is streamlining its editing and production facilities.

The layoffs – which hit CNN offices in Atlanta, New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Miami – come at the end of a three-year work process analysis.

The CNN archive library will be centralized in Atlanta while the library in Washington will be downsized and the New York library closed entirely. The company will add positions in Atlanta and expects to eventually be back to pre-layoff personnel levels.

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

Additionally, CNN’s Washington-based live production unit also had layoffs today.

In an email to staff on Friday, CNN senior vp Jack Womack outlined the reorganization noting that new technology in desk-top editing and user-generated content and social media have made some editing and photojournalism positions redundant.

Read Womack’s email below:

For the past three years, we have been analyzing our work process across Image + Sound, both in the field and in our editing and production areas.

Our goal has been to make sure we have the right resources in the right places to meet the demands of all of our programs. Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online. This evolution allows more people in more places to edit and publish than ever before. As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta. CNN Image + Sound will continue with high end craft editing that has positive impact on our networks and platforms.

We also spent a great deal of time analyzing how we utilize and deploy photojournalists across all of our locations in the U.S. We looked at the evolution of daytime and evening line-ups. We analyzed how stories are assigned and more importantly the ratio of stories assigned that actually make it on to our networks or platforms. We know that we have to sharpen our focus on stories assigned to ensure that this great work gets on air. We looked at production demands, down time, and international deployments. We looked at the impact of user-generated content and social media, CNN iReporters and of course our affiliate contributions in breaking news. Consumer and pro-sumer technologies are simpler and more accessible. Small cameras are now high broadcast quality. More of this technology is inthe hands of more people. After completing this analysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company.  

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

Now that we have completed this three-year review, we believe that we have the right resources in the right places and the proper staffing at Image + Sound, and that the unit is well-positioned to have an even more positive impact on our networks and platforms.

Jack