In a sign of just how quickly new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is moving to change the company, the CNN.com homepage will be getting a new look this afternoon, as well as a new organizational structure.
The moves carry Zucker’s fingerprints, including a cleaner look, some design influences from the CNN app, “CNN Trends” at the top of the page and news sections color-coded to the subject, as seen on Jake Tapper‘s 4 PM show “The Lead.” The bottom of the page features a distinct grey video module. You can see a screenshot of the new homepage after the jump.
The new executive structure will have VP/managing editor Meredith Artley adding oversight of the digital video team. Mike Toppo has been promoted to VP and senior editorial director, where he will have oversight of the homepage. Alex Wellen will become VP of products and operations, including oversight of mobile and Allen Wyke will join CNN Digital as its senior VP of technology and product development.
CNN Digital senior VP and GM KC Estenson announced the changes in a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser.
“Throughout the coming days, weeks and months Meredith and Mike will drive an effort to develop a punchier, more authoritative and engaging voice for CNN.com — from headlines and imagery to content and story order,” Estenson wrote. “We do breaking news better than anyone, but there’s room for improvement and expansion beyond the breaking news cycle — through urgency, quality and story selection.”
I want to share with you some important changes to the CNN Digital management team structure. As you’ve surely observed, CNN is in the midst of an exciting evolution. To best position our team for success going forward and to meet the evolving needs of an increasingly more unified network, we are expanding the roles of Alex Wellen, Mike Toppo and Meredith Artley. In addition, we are adding to our leadership team a new position – SVP, Technology and Product Development. The result of these changes will be evident in three highly visible ways:
1) Editorial punch, tone and tenor. Throughout the coming days, weeks and months Meredith and Mike will drive an effort to develop a punchier, more authoritative and engaging voice for CNN.com — from headlines and imagery to content and story order. To that end, they will be rolling out a refreshed homepage for CNN.com in the US tomorrow (see the image below)! We do breaking news better than anyone, but there’s room for improvement and expansion beyond the breaking news cycle — through urgency, quality and story selection. To that end, Mike and the video team will report into Meredith and Mike will become her partner for all editorial initiatives for CNN Digital in the US across text, video, social, etc. for all platforms. In making this move, we’re cashing in on Toppo’s TV experience to champion increased collaboration, coordination and content sharing with our television colleagues.
2) A more strategic and responsive technology team. Without sacrificing delivery of day-to-day requests and services, we will build the complex platforms, technologies and products required to harness social media, video syndication, content publishing, alerting, and personalization for CNN globally all while better supporting CNN TV and tackling a slew of other media consumption challenges that are impacting our business worldwide. This will be accomplished by adding to our roster an SVP of Technology and Product Development, Allen Wyke.
3) A single leader for our business and product strategy efforts. Alex Wellen will take over our video & mobile businesses and add product & business strategy to his portfolio for CNN Digital. Karen Degrammont and her team will report into Alex in this new role. You all know Alex and his deep experience from TV production, to product development, to well, pretty much every special project at CNN. He will help to drive our global business, working deeply with Ad Sales, Distribution, Marketing and our product teams to make sure CNN Digital is on track and growing beyond expectation.
A breakdown of the revised management structure is as follows:
* Meredith Artley remains as VP/Managing Editor of CNN Digital with an expanded scope of responsibilities to include oversight of the digital video team. This will enable Meredith to better drive our cross-format editorial initiatives.
* Mike Toppo has been promoted to VP and Senior Editorial Director, reporting to Meredith. Mike will assist Meredith in setting the editorial vision and will run the homepage of CNN.com where he will balance audience delivery, TV content integration and strong editorial programming. Mike will also manage a new cross-platform programming team to help connect our audiences across digital and television, as well as execute against sales/sponsorship integration requests.
* Alex Wellen will become VP, Products and Operations for CNN Digital responsible for both the business and strategy of Mobile, Video and Web. Karen DeGrammont will report to Alex whose team will manage business operations, strategic planning and delivery of our Ad Sales and Biz Dev obligations.
* Allen Wyke is slated to join CNN Digital as SVP Technology & Product Development on April 17th. Allen is an accomplished author and technology industry authority. He comes to us after posts as CTO for both Precision Health Media and Direct Brands (Columbia House and Doubleday), as well as top tech advisory roles for media organizations such as RadarOnline.com and Shape.com. Kitric Kerns and his team will report to Allen.
* Marisa Gallagher, Peter Bale & Mark Johnson will continue to report to me and lead their respective areas.
By organizing Digital’s leadership this way, we will increase our efficiency, engagement, quality and exposure and make it easy for everyone across CNN to work with our very talented team. Please join me in congratulating Meredith, Mike and Alex on their expanded responsibilities. And make a note to welcome Allen Wyke when he starts on April 17th. I look forward to seeing you at our team staff meeting this afternoon to discuss this more and answer any questions you might have.
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