December 1, 2022

CNN executed a round of layoffs Wednesday and Thursday, eliminating hundreds of positions including a number of on-air correspondents.

Among those let go were politics reporter Chris Cillizza; correspondents Alexandra Field, Martin Savidge and Alison Kosik; and vice president of northeast news Mary Anne Fox, according to Variety.

It is unclear exactly how many employees were let go. CEO Chris Licht told staff Wednesday that a limited number of people, mostly paid contributors, would be given pink slips that day. Thursday’s layoffs would then target full-time employees. Axios reported that “a couple hundred” staff would be affected. CNN has roughly 4,000 employees.

Spokesperson Lauren Cone did not respond to a request for comment.

Cable news channel HLN was hit particularly hard, Variety first reported. HLN was first launched in 1982 as CNN2 and later became known as CNN Headline News. However, in recent years HLN has reduced its live programming and instead focused on true crime shows. Now, CNN will stop live programming altogether for HLN on Dec. 6 and will replace “Morning Express” with a simulcast of “CNN This Morning.”

In a memo to employees Thursday, Licht outlined several other changes including restructurings affecting CNN International, U.S. newsgathering operations and programming teams. CNN will also reduce open positions.

Licht warned about impending layoffs in October when he wrote to staff that the company is bracing itself for an economic downturn. He said CNN would try to minimize impacts on its newsgathering operations.

“There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook, and we must factor that risk into our long-term planning,” Licht wrote at the time. “All this together will mean noticeable change to this organization.”

CNN has had a tumultuous year. The network started off 2022 under Jeff Zucker, who unexpectedly resigned as president in February. CNN’s owner, WarnerMedia, then merged with Discovery in April to form Warner Bros. Discovery.

Lack of support from Warner Bros. Discovery then helped hasten the demise of CNN’s streaming service, CNN+, which shuttered three weeks after it launched. Hundreds of people were laid off.

Licht took over in May, promising to avoid the “extremes” of cable news. He also said he would work to incorporate more conservative viewpoints. In the months since, there have been a number of high-profile departures including Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, legal affairs analyst Jeffrey Toobin and White House correspondent John Harwood.

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Angela Fu is a reporter for Poynter. She can be reached at or on Twitter @angelanfu.
Angela Fu

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