'Cruel News Network' fights battles in public

ATLANTA: CNN made its name reporting the Gulf War, and now, 10 years later, the network resembles a battlefield itself.

ATLANTA: CNN made its name reporting the Gulf War, and now, 10 years later, the network resembles a battlefield itself.

ATLANTA: CNN made its name reporting the Gulf War, and now, 10 years later, the network resembles a battlefield itself.

The news group, part of AOL Time Warner, has been hauled through the press this week having announced it is axing 400 personnel along with a raft of TV shows, including an environmental series fronted by Jane Fonda. As of last Thursday, PR staff had still not been told of their own future.

One crisis expert says the news outlet has not been handling the news well.

'CNN is a troubled place. There is clearly more competition and it has changed the programming to more talk,' said John Scanlon, a partner at Westhill Media Strategies.

'It has not made the case about the reasons for the layoffs. From reading what's public, you don't get a sense of the strategy,' Scanlon added.

The New York Post dubbed CNN the 'Cruel News Network' for the way it dealt with ejecting personnel, some of whom were told to leave immediately.

In bold contrast, an earlier memo from CNN news gathering president Eason Jordan said management would be 'sensitive and supportive' of departing staff.

Despite Scanlon's criticism, Larry Smith, president of the Institute of Crisis Management, says CNN has followed protocol in asking personnel to leave as soon as they're let go.

According to Smith, CNN is smart to escort people out of the building, 'When (employers) are nice then (people) walk out with valuable documents or sabotage the computer system. I don't fault CNN.'

As of press time, CNN had not returned PRWeek's calls for comment.



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