CNN chief Chris Licht tells staff to brace for budget cuts
Chris Licht, the TV and digital media reporter for U.S. News, makes it clear that the digital media news room and its team are on the precipice of a very major budget shortfall. In an email Tuesday to staff, Licht outlined the situation the newsroom is in and some of the options his staff and the national office are exploring. He says he cannot elaborate any further because the numbers need to be finalized.
He did, however, point out that the national office has the authority to approve a voluntary employee reduction of 40 percent or more. That would go into effect immediately, or in a month, depending on the size.
“As the national office reviews your budget request for the coming year, you will consider the budget request and determine if a voluntary or forced reduction and/or attrition of the newsroom staff would be appropriate,” Licht wrote. “You will have 30 days to decide whether a voluntary or forced reduction or attrition of the newsroom staff would be appropriate.”
He explained that the national office and the newsroom staff will work through several scenarios. It will likely involve a reduction in the number of staff. Licht notes the recent changes in the national leadership team, most notably the shift of former digital head, Bill Marimow, and digital director, Mike Hiltzik, and the departure of the national editor and the news director.
“We are expecting that additional staff reductions will be necessary in 2014,” Licht said. “The decision to initiate or expand a voluntary or forced reduction will be at the national office’s discretion.”
The newsroom has the option to request a reduction in staff through the voluntary option, or another option the newsroom may explore, Licht notes.
“If the national staff and/or the newsroom staff decide a voluntary reduction may be in the best interest of the