In a flurry of changes in staffing and programming, CNN’s managing editor, Mark Whitaker, has stepped down, as several new positions are filled.
The move comes just a couple of months after Time Warner owned CNN hiredas its new worldwide chief. Zucker, who had previously been working as the CEO of NBC Universal, has since been pushing hard to improve the news channel’s dipping ratings after hitting a historical low last year, coming second to both Fox News and MSNBC.
In his departure statement to fellow CNN staff, Whitaker wrote that Zucker "deserves his own team and management structure and the freedom to communicate one clear vision to the staff."
Besides Whitaker stepping down, CNN said Tuesday that Chris Cuomo from ABC has been hired for a “major role in a new CNN morning show.” Cuomo is the third reporter that has been taken onboard from ABC or its sister ESPN since Zucker became CNN’s new president.
In a 360 degree overhaul, CNN has also gotten rid of three of its political pundits. Among them areand Mary Matalin, the husband and wife team of its political commentators as well as conservative commentator, Erick Erickson.
Zucker and Whitaker had worked at NBC together, but since 2011 Whitaker had been with CNN and was regarded as the champion of international reporting. However, with Whitaker gone and a number of new hiring done while others still in the pipeline, it signals that Zucker wants to pull back CNN’s international reporting down to what an average American wants to watch and discuss on any given day.
Since its inception, CNN has stuck to the policy of providing a non-partisan approach to programming, which some has blamed as the reason for its poor ratings describing the channel’s strategy as a ‘view from nowhere’!
However, in November, when Zucker was hired for his new job at CNN, he said that "news is about more than just politics and war. In order to stay relevant in the times when there is not breaking news; we have to understand that news can be defined in different ways."
The position vacated by Whitaker will not be immediately filled in by anyone else, a representative for the news channel reported. However, the editorial functions that were formerly being handled by Whitaker will now become the responsibility of Mr. Zucker.