CNN chief Jeff Zucker recently shared not-so-encouraging words with some of the news operation’s employees, many of whom have been bracing for potential jobs cuts.
“We are going to do less and have to do it with less,” Zucker said during a call-in to a news meeting last week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently received a partial transcript of the call from a Turner employee who asked not to be identified.
Zucker’s comments feed growing concerns among employees at CNN and other operations of Turner Broadcasting, which has nearly 13,000 full-time employees, about half of them in Atlanta.
Zucker made his comments to staff the day after Turner chief John Martin sent a memo to staff saying that a more streamlined company would be in place by the start of next year and that employees would begin hearing more in coming weeks. Turner executives are trying to refocus the business, including shedding costs, spending more on original programming to boost ratings and looking to prioritize other growth options.
Zucker said, “We now have a sense of what Turner is expecting from CNN. I am working with the senior management team at CNN to figure out what this means for us. This will result in changes and what we do and what we stop doing.”
Here’s a transcript of part of Zucker’s call:
“I want to address the note from John Martin that was sent yesterday and I know it’s on everyone’s minds. What I will add is that clearly we are in the next phase in the process that John laid out earlier.
“We now have a sense of what Turner is expecting from CNN. I am working with the senior management team at CNN to figure out what this means for us. This will result in changes and what we do and what we stop doing.
“We need to continue to protect what we’ve been doing so brilliantly for the last few months. We need to have the ability to do what we’ve been doing.
“On the other hand, we are faced with reality. We are going to have to do what we do with less. As a result, that means there will be changes. No final decisions have been made. I will be meeting with senior management of CNN. You will hear from your manager in the next week or so.
“We are just now moving into the next phase, I know this is on a lot of people’s mind. We are going to do less and have to do it with less.
“As difficult as this message is to share, I thought it was important to be transparent.”