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CNN

CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company. The 24-hour cable news channel was founded in 1980 by American media proprietor Ted Turner. CNN broadcasts from its headquarters at the CNN Center in Atlanta, the Time Warner Center in New York City, and studios in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. CNN is available in 98 million U.S. households, and more than 271 million worldwide. Jeff Zucker is the president of CNN Worldwide.

Arwa Damon Returns to Reporting for CNN

After nearly a month away, Arwa Damon has returned to reporting for CNN. The network’s senior international correspondent found herself in the news earlier this month when she was sued by two EMTs in Baghdad who claimed she bit them “in a drunken rage” at the U.S. Embassy.

“I am apologizing and extending my thanks to all that were involved in ensuring that I am, thankfully, in the end, taken care of and physically at least OK,” Damon wrote in an email following the incident. “Everyone was extremely professional and courteous in the face of my unjustified behavior.”

For her first on-air story, Damon reported from a morgue in Baghdad.

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As Time Warner Ends Vice Talks, A&E Plans $250M Stake in Media Company

viceThe New York TimesJonathan Mahler scoops that Time Warner has ended negotiations with Vice Media. The talks, which have been going on for months, included a plan to spin off Time Warner’s HLN network, and refashion it into a Vice channel. The Brooklyn-based media company includes a magazine, book publishing, a massive online presence, and gritty, global documentaries which are carried on Time Warner’s HBO.

The conversations collapsed after the two companies were unable to agree on a valuation of Vice. Last year, 21st Century Fox paid $70 million for a 5 percent stake in the company, valuing the company at more than $1 billion.

In June, Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith told the New York Times having a TV network was “the next step in our evolution. Our mobile and online stuff is going to grow exponentially, but we want a three-legged stool, and the third leg is TV.”

A week ago, the Wall Street Journal reported Time Warner had also been in talks with Glenn Beck‘s company about re-branding HLN into TheBlaze TV. But those talks also came to nothing. Earlier this year, under the new leadership of Albie Hecht, HLN intended to become “the home for the social media generation.” Primetime programs include those hosted by Nancy GraceJane Velez-Mitchell, and Dr. Drew Pinsky. Late nights and weekends are made up of true crime stories.

> More: The Financial Times reports Vice is finalizing a deal to sell a 10% stake to A&E Networks for $250 million. A&E is jointly owned by Walt Disney and Hearst. The sale could be announced as early as next week, FT reports.

Reporter Departs CNN with Pencils, Pads, First Aid Kit and One Regret: ‘There Are Far Too Few Redheads on CNN’

Lisa Desjardins is leaving CNN. But she’s not going quietly. A Capitol Hill correspondent, Desjardins joined CNN 9 years ago after working as a reporter in print, TV and radio.

In a goodbye video posted to YouTube, the likes of which you’ve probably never seen before, Desjardins says, “I know we’ve had a lot of goodbyes here lately. I know people are worried about the future, and I know that there are a lot of buyout offers on the table…”

Then, as she pilfers some office supplies (she passes on the “Rick’s List” mug,) Desjardins tells viewers, “I’m sorry that CNN has decided to eliminate my reporter position at the Hill and cut back on congressional coverage. Of course I’m also sorry that congress is complete mess right now.”

“I have very few regrets,” Desjardins says. “One of them is there are just far too few redheads on CNN.” WATCH:

Attorney Wants Retraction of CNN Story

LemonBlumenthalThe is it or isn’t it debate over a purported audiotape of the Michael Brown shooting hit a new level last night. Lopa Blumenthal, the attorney who provided the audiotape to CNN, and other networks, says she won’t “tolerate being maligned” by those who say the tape is a hoax.

“I’m not going to sit back and take this,” she tells WaPo’s Erik Wemple. “This is affecting my community — people are discussing it. My business exists on the work that I do, which means nothing if people think that I have no integrity.”

Blumenthal contacted CNN’s Don Lemon, who first aired the tape and conducted an interview with her Monday night, to express concern about the “New Day” segment Wednesday which called into question the veracity of the tape. “I need some form of redress,” she says. “My demand would be to not only do a retraction but to basically say that when CNN aired it they were fully aware of the fact that it wasn’t fully authenticated, and they decided to air it in any case with the disclaimer.”

In ‘The News Sorority,’ Couric is ‘Brash,’ Sawyer ‘Machiavellian,’ Amanpour’s ‘Moral Superiority’

The News SororityThe Daily Beast‘s Lloyd Grove pored through journalist Sheila Weller’s upcoming TV news tell-all “The News Sorority.” And according to Grove, Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, and Christiane Amanpour should expect some non-fiction hazing.

On Couric, Grove excerpts one of the juicier tidbits.

When Diane beat Katie on an interview with a 57-year-old woman who’d given birth to twins, Katie mused aloud, according to a person who heard the comment: “I wonder who she blew this time to get it.” In Weller’s narrative—which, as the subtitle indicates, aspires to document “the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News”–Couric comes off as brash, striving, self-absorbed, and occasionally insensitive to the realities faced by her less well-compensated coworkers, yet steeled by personal tragedy (the cancer-related deaths of her husband and her sister) and capable of big-hearted generosity.

Sawyer, who anchors her final “World News” tonight, is a Type-A personality trading charm for results.

Sawyer is a Machiavellian, often-inscrutable workaholic who uses her seductive charm and good looks to professional advantage and torments news producers with her relentless perfectionism and insecurity—an apparent consequence of a fraught relationship with her judgmental, formidable mother (who once sent the adult Sawyer into a self-flagellating death spiral, Weller writes, when she criticized how her TV star daughter had made her bed).

And “reigning queen of the warzone” Amanpour might need to check her ego Read more

Was Alleged Audio of Michael Brown Shooting on CNN a Hoax?

LemonBlumenthalMediaite writes about CNN’s morning show questioning the reporting of one of CNN’s evening shows.

Monday night, “CNN Tonight” aired an audiotape purported to capture the shooting of Michael Brown. The tape was brought to CNN by St. Louis attorney Lopa Blumenthal, (at right with anchor Don Lemon) who says a former client gave it to her. Lemon repeatedly said that CNN could not verify the authenticity of the tape.

TVNewser has learned CBS News received the same audio earlier this week from Blumenthal, but chose not to run it because it could not be verified.

This morning on “New Day,” two guests on CNN doubted the veracity of it.

“I’ve told your producers that for all I know this is something one of Howard Stern’s punk people had been doing. I look at this and my first inclination is someone is trying to punk CNN,” said former LAPD officer David Klinger. CNN analyst Tom Fuentes also doubted its authenticity: “When I heard this yesterday, I thought the exact same thing: it’s a hoax.”

WaPo’s Erik Wemple reported yesterday on how CNN got its hands on the audiotape. When asked about its authenticity, a CNN spokesperson told Wemple, “[W]e interviewed the caller’s attorney off camera and she answered key questions that gave us confidence to put her on the air live with Don. And we did confirm the caller lived close enough to the shooting to have heard the shots.”

Now it appears, there are doubts inside CNN.

Turner Offers Buyouts to Hundreds of Employees; Will Also Seek ‘Additional Reductions in Staffing’

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Breaking: CNN and HLN are beginning a process of offering buyouts to hundreds of employees today. The Turner networks are among those feeling the effects of plan laid out by Turner CEO John Martin in a memo to all employees last week. More specifics came from CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker who told told employees last Tuesday they would hear from their managers about cutbacks. This morning, a note from Turner’s Chief Human Resources Officer arrived. The note, obtained by TVNewser explains that even after buyouts “Turner will also undertake additional reductions in staffing.”

To support the company’s stated focus on programming, monetization and innovation, we are identifying cost savings and shifting capital allocations to high-growth areas where investment will drive growth and profitability. As part of these efforts, we are offering a Voluntary Separation Program to regular status Turner Broadcasting employees on Turner’s U.S. payroll working in the U.S. and who are at least age 55 and have 10 or more years of service as of December 31, 2014, excluding on-air talent and employees covered by a written employment agreement.

Today, employees meeting these eligibility requirements will receive a confidential, personalized email detailing the program, its benefits and deadlines for acceptance, which is strictly voluntary. This enhanced benefit offering is just one vehicle the company is implementing as part of a comprehensive plan. Given the current focus on reducing costs and prioritizing investments to maximize company performance, Turner will also undertake additional reductions in staffing.

We are grateful to the tenured employees whose service and dedication to Turner Broadcasting have made an indelible mark on our business success.

This is all part of Martin’s goal to create a more “streamlined, nimble and efficient company” as part of his “Turner 2020″ plan.

Read more

How Cable News Covered Michael Brown’s Funeral, Al Sharpton’s Eulogy

Sharpton BrownThis afternoon, cable news covered the funeral of 18-year-old Michael Brown as one of MSNBC’s hosts continued being part of the story.

MSNBC was the only channel to air Al Sharpton‘s eulogy, dipping into it at 12:44pmET. “Order says that children bury their parents…we should not sit here today and act like we’re watching something that is in order,” Sharpton said to rousing chants from the crowd gathered at a St. Louis church.

MSNBC took Sharpton’s eulogy for 11 minutes before Chris Matthews, filling in for Andrea Mitchell, wrapped the noon eastern hour. Ronan Farrow opened his show speaking with Craig Melvin about his interview with Brown’s parents, but showing a full screen of Sharpton’s speech while Melvin reported.

During Sharpton’s eulogy, Fox News continued with its “Outnumbered” panel, who discussed topics ranging from James Foley‘s beheading to what time school should start for teens. At 1pmET, “Happening Now” opened airing images of Sharpton speaking live, then turning to Garrett Tenney outside the church. CNN aired Don Lemon interviewing CNN political commentator LZ Granderson and CNN contributor Donna Brazile. Ashleigh Banfield closed “Legal View” airing parts of Lemon’s interview with the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Sean Bell.

During Sharpton’s eulogy, Fox News’ Howard Kurtz tweeted about his statements. And this morning, Don Lemon tweeted–about not tweeting. Read more

Dan Rather: If One of My Staffers Were Held Captive, I’d ‘Negotiate for Ransom’

Rather.jpgAppearing on “Reliable Sources” yesterday, Dan Rather reacted to the beheading of journalist James Foley and described what he’d do if one of his journalists were captured by terrorists.

“If some member of our ’Dan Rather Reports’ team was kidnapped, I’d be looking to negotiate for ransom,” Rather said.

“And you can criticize that if you want, damn if you want, but the loyalty to our people who work with us and take these great chances engenders loyalty back,” he continued.  Earlier in the program, Foley’s boss, GlobalPost CEO Phil Balboni, said “it’s suicide for a journalist to go into Syria now.”

Over on “MediaBuzz,” Howard Kurtz examined whether news organizations should’ve shown footage from Foley’s beheading. “We are not showing you images from the execution videotape, which were splashed all across television, and the web, and the New York tabloids, and social media.  And the reason is, that’s what ISIS wants; to spread fear and disgust, and most of the media played into their hands.

WATCH:

Read more

Jeff Zucker: ‘We Are Going to Do Less and Have to Do It With Less’

JeffZuckerCNNThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker shared grim news with some staffers this past week.

On the same day Turner CEO John Martin sent a memo to all Turner Broadcasting employees hinting at layoffs to help create a more “streamlined, nimble and efficient company,” Zucker told employees CNN will be affected.  “We are going to do less and have to do it with less,” he said in a Tuesday morning call with employees. The Journal-Constitution has a partial transcript.

“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.”

Zucker will certainly want to protect CNN’s investment in original series and documentaries; the type of programming he’s gone all in on since taking the reins last year. Which departments and programming are affected by cuts remains to be seen.

We’ve reached out to CNN on reports of impending layoffs, but haven’t heard back yet.

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