Friday, July 27, 2012

Jim Walton stepping down as President of CNN

CNN Press Release - Jim Walton told the CNN organization today that he will step down as president of CNN Worldwide at the end of this year. He will continue in his current role until that time. Jim’s decision has the support and respect of Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent. Phil will lead the search for Jim’s successor.

Employee note from Jim Walton is below as well as statements from Phil Kent and Jeff Bewkes. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Jim Walton note to staff:

After more than 30 years at this company and nearly 10 years as the leader of this great news organization, I have decided to leave my role at CNN on December 31, 2012.

For some time, I’ve been talking with Phil Kent about wanting to make a change, and he supports my decision. I’ve told Phil that I will cooperate with any transition timeline that he and Time Warner want to implement. Phil requested that I work out the year and be available after that if needed, which I’ve agreed to do.

I am proud of what we have accomplished together over these last 10 years – innovative programming, the development of great talent in front of and behind the cameras, expansion in digital and mobile, significant investment and expansion in international coverage, financial success and, most importantly, great and trusted journalism. Thank you for the role you have played in our successes.

CNN needs new thinking. That starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through. And I'm ready for a change. I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it.

The next few months will be filled with election news and other important events that will require all of our focus to report the news with the quality and expertise the world expects of CNN. I look forward to working alongside each of you, as I have over the past 30-plus years, to do just that.


Phil Kent quote:

Jim is the leader we all aspire to be: Smart and steady, tough and fair, business-savvy and respected by his team, and with a track record of great judgment when it matters most. His vision has modernized and globalized our legacy news brand, enhanced CNN’s journalistic standing, positioned it at the forefront of multi-platform branded news content and challenged the organization to think bigger, reach further and do better. I am honored to work alongside him and proud to call him my friend.

Phil Kent
Chairman and CEO, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Jeff Bewkes quote:

When Jim Walton assumed the presidency of CNN in 2003, it was underperforming and earnings were in serious decline. Since then, he and CNN have tripled earnings, doubled margin and delivered annual growth of 15 percent. In his nearly 31 years of uninterrupted and distinguished service to CNN, Jim has been instrumental in growing the business into the financial powerhouse it has become, while establishing the brand as the worldwide leader for television news. I respect him personally and professionally and support the decision he and Phil Kent have reached.

Jeff Bewkes
Chairman and CEO, Time Warner Inc.

Monday, July 02, 2012

CNN iReport Kills Gotye? Singer Denies Death In A Tweet

An unvetted post on CNN iReport sparked a flurry of internet activity after it claimed singer Gotye had committed suicide, according to The Daily Telegraph.

"The CNN iReport stated: "At 4:32 AM EST, it was reported that Gotye had shot himself in the head with a 9mm handgun.

"He was pronounced dead at 4.45AM, and the investigation concluded that the cause of death was suicide.

"It was confirmed shortly after by family and friends. He was quickly taken to the Central Montmorency Hospital, but died from his injuries shortly after.

His family has stated that they plan a closed funeral."

Since the fake report was published, the musician took to Twitter to confirm he was still alive by tweeting: "I'm not dead", with the hashtag #pinkalbumtitles." has an apparent screengrab of the false report on their blog and a link to the iReport - which has since been removed from the CNN site.

For his part, Gotye tweeted the following:

And thanks to Twitter user @xGotyettesx, details of the singer's managements denial here


Management Friction At CNN?

There's a fraction too much friction between two of CNN's top dogs, according to The New York Post (via Inside Cable News).

According to the Post, some within CNN are blaming the network's woes directly on frosty relations between Ken Jautz, executive vice president of CNN, and Mark Whitaker, executive vice president and managing editor for CNN Worldwide.

"Sources were quick to cite “misaligned management” within the top ranks as a major reason for the dysfunction. Jautz, who previously ran HLN, replaced former CNN US head Jon Klein two years ago — but some of Klein’s duties were given to Whitaker.

“When Jon was there, the structure was more linear,” said an insider, adding that Jautz and Whitaker, “have competing ideas for what we should do.”

The insider further told us: “Ken is not an editorial guy. He really is an operations guy. Mark’s strong suit is editorial, but he doesn’t know as much about television.”

Sources pointed to O’Brien’s show, which Whitaker oversees, as an example of competing, confusing philosophies. One insider said: “Ken does not like all of the ‘conversation on camera’ on the morning show. Mark does, because his vision is to make it that go-to conversation piece that ‘Morning Joe’ has become. It’s a constant battle.”

Making matters more unclear, both execs report to CNN honcho Jim Walton, and chatter’s swirling on how long he’ll remain."

More from The New York Post here.

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

CNN en Español Launches New Monthly Feature 'Al Galope'

CNN en Español launched a new monthly feature on horse racing on Saturday. 'Al Galope' will continue to air on the fourth Saturday of each month and is hosted by the network's sport anchor Elizabeth Pérez and Francesca Cumani - who also hosts CNN International's monthly horse racing feature 'Winning Post'. Full details on the new show from CNN below.

CNN Press Release: Horse racing news will come to CNN en Español on Al Galope

Starting Saturday, June 30th at 9:00 pm (ET), CNN en Español will broadcast Al Galope, a new sports program that will present the highlights of horse racing. Jockey Francesca Cumani and Deportes CNN anchor Elizabeth Pérez will host Al Galope, an ideal show for fans of this sport where precision and tradition come together.  Al Galope will broadcast once a month, on the fourth Saturday of the month.

Few sports can harmonize the elegance and history like horse racing. Al Galope will offer coverage around this major equestrian sport where traditions unites with modern techniques. In each show, Al Galope will show what happens inside of the racetrack with stories of the greatest trainers, jockeys, horse owners and their business.  Al Galope is behind-the-scenes look into the world of horse racing, from the exquisite purebred to the training logistics, diet, and transportation of these great athletes throughout the world. Each show will go in depth in order to focus on what happens inside of the racetracks with the great masters, the trainers and the most important jockeys in the industry.

Al Galope’s first show on Saturday, June 30th at 9:00 pm (ET) will center on the Prix de Diane and Royal Ascot, which are two of the most renowned competitions in Europe. The Prix de Diane is considered the most stylish race in France that is celebrated yearly in the Chantilly racetrack. Expectations for fashion outside of the racetrack are almost as important as the purebreds that will be competing. The Prix de Diane, also known as the French Oaks, is the principal national race for three-year-old fillies and it is considered to be among the classic races in France.

Without a doubt, Royal Ascot is one of the most prestigious and famous races in the world. It is considered one of the best horse races because of the quality of its horses and jockeys, and Queen Elizabeth II frequently attends the race, arriving by carriage from Windsor Castle. This year, the two best horses in the world, Frankel and Black Caviar, will be among the competitors throughout the five-day competition.

Al Galope will debut on Saturday, June 30th at 9:00 pm (ET), and will re-air Sunday, July 1st at 3:30 am, 11:30 am, 2:30 pm and 11:30 pm (ET); Thursday, July 5th at 12:30 am (ET); Friday, July 6th at 1:30 pm (ET); and Saturday, July 7th at 8:30 am (ET).

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