On his first day on the job, CNN’s new CEO told employees that the company is “nowhere near ready for the future.”
Mark Thompson, CNN’s third CEO in less than two years, began his term with an introductory video. Oliver Darcy, a senior media writer for the network, shared Thompson’s comments in his “Reliable Sources” email.
Darcy says Thompson said he was both hopeful and worried about the future of CNN despite the network’s current problems.
The CEO told the workers that he was “heartened” that many of them “still believe in CNN and its mission” and that “the world needs news it can trust more than ever.”
Nevertheless, he said that the business needs to change with the times and focus on doing well in a time when fewer people watch TV.
“I want to add that from now on we must be committed to presenting that news in whatever form, in whatever product, makes most sense for audiences today,” Thompson said, according to Darcy.
“Conventional TV will remain critical, but it can no longer define us,” he said. “It’s one platform in a growing portfolio of platforms.”
On his estimation of where CNN currently stands, he concluded, “The truth is that despite some recent encouraging developments, like the launch of CNN Max, this company is still nowhere near ready for the future.”
“TV is vital … but TV is also too dominant at CNN and digital too marginal,” Thompson said, declaring that CNN’s digital products today “lag well behind the current state of the art” and that he aims to change that.
CNN is known for biased reporting on the left and biased editorials that greatly favor Democrats. Thompson said that the company will report facts if he tells them to.
Jones says Thompson wants CNN to “follow the news wherever it leads us and no matter who it is going to upset.”
“Let’s cover political news proportionately and fairly, but not be frightened by our own shadows,” he said. “We do need to pick up the pace now if we want CNN to be one of the winners in this era of news.”
CNN has had trouble getting people since Jeff Zucker quit as CEO after his relationship with Allison Gollust, a former executive vice president of the network, became public.
He quit his job in February 2022, not long after firing Chris Cuomo, a former CNN host.
Chris Licht, who was Thompson’s boss, tried to get CNN going again but failed.
Lineup changes and staff shuffles didn’t make watchers feel anything.
Licht was fired in June after a rough three years in which the network’s numbers hit a low point and Don Lemon was fired.