World Economy

 CNN to Cut 10% Staff, Refocus Investments

 CNN to Cut 10% Staff, Refocus Investments CNN to Cut 10% Staff, Refocus Investments

Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of CNN, will cut its total workforce by about 10% in the coming weeks through a mix of buyouts, layoffs and other measures, the company report says.

The reductions are part of a broader effort to save money and refocus investment, known internally as Turner 2020. The company said about 1,475 positions — out of 14,000 full-time positions worldwide — would be eliminated in the coming weeks, CBS reported.

Within CNN Worldwide, where the workforce totals roughly 3,500, about 300 positions will be cut, totaling 8.5%.

CNN president Jeff Zucker told staff to expect changes saying, “We are going to do less and have to do it with less.” That has set off a swirl of rumors about the company’s future, causing fear for employees and residents of Atlanta.

Clearly what began in downtown Atlanta 34 years ago is no longer what it used to be. Media mogul Ted Turner launched CNN, the first 24-hour cable news network, in 1980 and a lot has changed since then.

“They’ve been gradually moving things to New York ever since Time Warner bought CNN,” Former CNN Senior Producer Liz Mercure said.

Mercure worked at CNN for 25 years and said she saw the changes coming.

Turner Broadcasting, one of our city’s biggest corporate players, is now faced with stiff competition and soft ratings, forcing it to make some of the most significant company-wide job cuts in years.

A source told CBS46 that Turner could cut anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 jobs this week.

Turner’s new CEO, John Martin, announced in June a new initiative called Turner 2020 saying every part of the business is being scrutinized to reduce spending and maximize growth.

“We’ll start 2015 a more streamlined, nimble and efficient company,” Martin wrote in a memo to employees last week. Later he wrote, “… our goals are much more ambitious than a paint job.”

Turner has about 6,500 employees, roughly half of its total workforce, in downtown and midtown Atlanta.

Now there’s talk that by January, all Turner brands could be renamed and moved out of Atlanta, possibly eliminating the Turner legacy completely.

“It’s right up there with Coke and Delta. I think it would be a big loss,” Mercure said.

“Atlanta will recover because CNN helped it build itself into what it is today, and so I think Atlanta will survive,” Baker said.

In addition, a source told CBS46 that all of CNN’s operations could eventually be moved to Los Angeles or New York City.

CBS46 spoke with some current Turner employees who did not want to be identified that said they’re all on pins and needles and they expect to hear about job cuts sometime this week.