CNN is passing out pink slips in their DC, New York, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles offices following a three-year long review of the company's workflow. Based on the wording of the internal memo sent out by CNN senior vice president Jack Womack, part of that analysis involved measuring the potential of leaning more heavily on the network's citizen journalism program, iReport:
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 in the hands of more people. After completing this analysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company.
Chris Ariens at TV Newser reports that "at least 50 positions are being eliminated [including] as many as 12 staffers in the Washington, DC bureau alone, four of whom are longtime photojournalists." These numbers pale in comparison to the mass layoffs of 2008, when CNN sacked its entire science, technology, and environment news staff, but it does throw a wrench into the resilient hope that citizen journalists aren't stealing jobs from professional journalists.
The full memo:
From: Womack, Jack
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011 3:59 PM
To: *CNN ALL Cities ImageSound (TBS); *CNN ALL Cities Tech Ops
Subject: NOTE TO STAFF
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 in the 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.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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