CNN’s Opinion section is no more

The CNN team working on the news network’s Opinion output was let go today. The contributors and editors were gathered and informed that they would be terminated with an end date of August 9, according to people there. 

The move is part of a wider cost cutting measure announced this morning by CEO Mark Thompson who unveiled a broad global restructure of CNN’s content output across digital, video and TV. The restructure comes almost a year after Thompson took charge of the network after the disastrous term of his predecessor Chris Licht. Thompson is reviving subscription products launching later this year, after Licht executed a plan to shutter an earlier CNN streaming product conceived under former leader Jeff Zucker.

Thompson let go of 100 staff today as owner Warner Bros. Discovery goes about further cost reductions in order to pay off its $43 billion debt load and figure out a new approach as declines in linear viewing hit ad revenue. CNN is pivoting towards using more video and less text based content.  The section’s senior editor, Sheena McKenzie, an Australian based in London, was not at the meeting. One person shared that the London-based editor is also out as part of the lay-offs.  

In recent weeks the section has run columns from political writers like David Axelrod, Ana Marie Cox and author Eric Weiner mostly about Trump and Biden though the Opinion section was strong on international topics with a strong focus on coverage of the French elections, the war in Ukraine and Palestine. 

I broke news of the CNN cuts and its new strategy this morning. You can read more on that here.

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