Media Insider: Licht out at CNN, Gannett writers strike, LA Times announces cuts

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week. 

Chris Licht Out at CNN After Tumultuous Reign as CEO
Variety | Brian Steinberg

CNN CEO Chris Licht is leaving his post after a little more than a year at the helm after losing the support of staff and enacting a series of chaotic editorial changes under the direction of parent company Warner Bros. Discovery. In his place, a team of three executives will run CNN’s editorial operations for an interim period: Amy Entelis, a longtime CNN executive who worked with Jeff Zucker and helps manage talent relations; Virginia Moseley, recently named to oversee editorial operations; and Eric Sherling, recently appointed head of U.S. programming. David Leavy, a longtime lieutenant of David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, who was named chief operating officer at CNN last week, will oversee business activities.

Also making news: Tucker Carlson posted the first installment of his new show on Twitter. 

Hundreds of journalists strike to demand leadership change at biggest US newspaper chain
Associated Press | Alexandra Olson

Journalists at two dozen local newspapers across the U.S. walked off the job this week to demand an end to painful cost-cutting measures and a change of leadership at Gannett, the country’s biggest newspaper chain. The strike involves hundreds of journalists at newspapers in eight states, including the Arizona Republic, Austin American-Statesman, Bergen Record, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, and the Palm Beach Post, according to NewsGuild, which represents workers at more than 50 Gannett newsrooms. The walkouts coincided with Gannett’s annual shareholder meeting, during which the company’s board was duly elected, despite the NewsGuild-CWA union urging shareholders to withhold their vote from CEO and board chairman Mike Reeve as an expression of no confidence in his leadership. 

More than 250 employees at Insider also staged a strike after the company changed workers’ health insurance plans. 

Los Angeles Times to Cut More Than 10% of Newsroom
The New York Times | Katie Robertson

The Los Angeles Times is cutting more than 10% of its newsroom jobs, its executive editor, Kevin Merida, said on Wednesday. In an email to staff, Merida said the company was restructuring and would eliminate 74 roles as a result. Hillary Manning, a spokeswoman for the company, said about 500 people would remain. She declined to comment on which sections would be affected by the cuts, but The Los Angeles Times reported that it would include some editing, audio producing, and audience engagement roles. 

Spotify also announced layoffs, with 200 employees being let go as part of its second round of job cuts this year. 

Survey: Half of newsrooms already ‘actively working’ with generative AI
Press Gazette | Bron Maher

Half of newsrooms are “actively working” with generative AI tools like ChatGPT, according to a new survey by the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The survey also indicates that newsroom leaders are the ones spearheading the deployment of AI in newsrooms. The most common use of AI in the newsroom was (limited) text creation, with 54% saying their colleagues were using the tools to that end. Also, only 20% of respondents said their news organization has guidelines on using AI – but 49% said journalists in their newsrooms have the freedom to use the tools as they see fit. Some 3% said their newsrooms simply do not allow the use of generative AI.

Writers beware: A publishers group warns that generative AI content could violate copyright law. 

Less than a year after launch, The Baltimore Banner says it has 70,000 subscribers
NiemanLab | Sarah Scire

When the buzzy philanthropist-backed nonprofit newsroom Baltimore Banner launched last summer, executives set the ambitious goal of 100,000 subscribers by 2025. Almost exactly one year later, they’re reporting they’re already well on their way. As outgoing CEO Imtiaz Patel announced his departure last week, he told a Banner reporter that the news organization had “more than 70,000 subscribers with paid access.” The Banner has grown to include 100 employees, including about 65 in its newsroom. More than 70,000 paid subscribers is an impressive number for any local outlet, especially a new newsroom that hasn’t yet been publishing for a full year. For comparison: The Banner’s crosstown rival, the 186-year-old Baltimore Sun, reported reaching 80,000 digital subscribers in 2022.

Also from NiemanLab: The New York Times has launched a free, geo-targeted extreme weather newsletter.

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Maria Perez is director of web operations at Cision. In her spare time, she enjoys gaming, watching too much TV, and chasing squirrels with her dog Cece.

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