CNN makes massive staff cuts as news industry prepares for a dark winter

CNN is laying off hundreds of employees in a cost-cutting effort that illuminates the financial challenges facing a wide array of media companies as the economy teeters toward a possible recession.

The cuts began on Wednesday and finished on Thursday, with affected employees notified in person or via Zoom.

“It is incredibly hard to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team,” CNN chief executive Chris Licht wrote in a Wednesday staff memo obtained by The Washington Post, describing the cuts as a “gut punch.”

Chris Cillizza, who joined CNN as a politics reporter and editor-at-large in 2017, confirmed to The Post that he has been laid off. Susan Glasser, a CNN global affairs analyst, also said that she was “one of many” part-time commentators affected by the cuts. Rachel Metz, a senior technology writer, said she was “devastated” to have been laid off on Thursday.

Other television networks are planning cost-cutting measures over the winter. NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News and MSNBC, will lay off employees in January, according to a Business Insider report, though a news division spokesperson declined to comment Thursday. ABC News parent company Disney is similarly planning cuts under the leadership of Bob Iger, who recently returned as the company’s chief executive.

The country’s largest newspaper chain, Gannett, is undertaking a round of job cuts that is expected to affect roughly 200 journalists — at papers large and small — over the next two days. The company also laid off about 400 employees in August and froze hiring for hundreds more positions. “While incredibly difficult, implementing these efficiencies and responding decisively to the ongoing macroeconomic volatility will continue to propel Gannett’s future,” Gannett spokesperson Lark-Marie Antón said in an email.

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