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Walton on CNN’s “Milestone,” SVP Jane Maxwell’s Exit

cnnlogo_1-21.jpgTVNewser has obtained an internal memo from CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton to the staff this morning.

“The numbers are still arriving, but it’s clear this morning that CNN’s multi-platform coverage of the Presidential Inauguration on Tuesday is another milestone in what has been a game-changing political season for our organization,” writes Walton. “We don’t have final television data yet, but CNN’s coverage handily beat the cable competition in the metered markets.”

He also notes Jane Maxwell, SVP CNN Special Events, is leaving the network. “She’s leaving us exactly where she has always wanted us, and where her professionalism, leadership, generosity and hard work ensured we’d be: at the top,” he writes.

Click continued to see the full memo…


The numbers are still arriving, but it’s clear this morning that CNN’s multi-platform coverage of the Presidential Inauguration on Tuesday is another milestone in what has been a game-changing political season for our organization. We don’t have final television data yet, but CNN’s coverage handily beat the cable competition in the metered markets. CNN.com received more than 182 million page views and served more than 26 million live video streams, which is five times its old record and makes CNN.com’s Inauguration coverage the largest online live video event in Internet history. The seamless integration of CNN.com and Facebook created a global social event that demonstrated in stunning fashion the arrival of a long-awaited mainstream consumer experience: live video combined with real-time Internet-based community. As CNN’s signature journalism was connecting people around the world to an historic news event, CNN platforms connected them with one another in record-setting numbers.

What we did yesterday is change the relationship millions of people have with news and information. We reinforced our importance to our audience and to our industry. And we proved the vision of a group of our leaders who saw the power and potential in a new combination of CNN’s journalism, technology resources and partnerships.

I’m not sure of the exact moment when CNN went from covering changes around the world to changing the world with its coverage; there’s a good case to be made that it started on June 1, 1980. But I know that we have not grown our technology capability, expertise and profile so dramatically as a news organization as we have in the election cycle that the Presidential Inauguration brought to a close. And we have not done better work in reporting a story; our Inauguration coverage on-air and online was true to the high standards we maintained throughout its long, remarkable course.

Everyone at CNN deserves credit for this success, but for one of us, yesterday’s endings and beginnings are particularly resonant. As I told you last month, Jane Maxwell is making the Inauguration her last project for CNN. She’s leaving us exactly where she has always wanted us, and where her professionalism, leadership, generosity and hard work ensured we’d be: at the top.

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