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Jeff Zucker on Diversity, His Golf Game and What He Wants CNN to Be

In his first public comments since taking over as president of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker spoke at a packed Atlanta Press Club luncheon Monday. Of CNN, Zucker says the network needs to be more than “a spare tire in the trunk,” according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution‘s Rodney Ho, who is a board member of the Press Club.

“You only take it out when you really need it. It’s not one of the four tires on the car all the time. The challenge for us is how to make CNN more essential, how to make it one of the four tires on the car.”

Zucker chose Atlanta for a very good reason: “I did not make my first luncheon with the press club in New York,” he said. “Atlanta will continue to be the home for CNN and continue to be the backbone of CNN.” On the issue of diversity, Ho writes:

A questioner noted the departures of Soledad O’Brien and Roland Martin: “In the three months I’ve been at CNN, we’ve hired five correspondents and four of them have been diverse.” He meant non-white. (Former longtime WSB anchor) Monica Pearson asked him how many were black. He said two.

Zucker, who has not done any interviews since taking over, says, “I want our work to speak for itself.”

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