CNN’S MARK WHITAKER’S MEMO TO EMPLOYEES

(The following is a reformatted version of an internal memo
issued by CNN’s Mark Whitaker. The document was confirmed.) 
From: Whitaker, Mark
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 08:30 AM
To: *CNN Staff; *CNN International - ALL
Subject: To the Staff 
Dear CNN Colleagues: 
Two and a half years ago, when Jeff Bewkes, Phil Kent and Jim
Walton first approached me about joining CNN in the newly
created role of Managing Editor across all our TV and digital
platforms, I told them that I would welcome the challenge under
three conditions. 
The first was that the CNN recommit itself to Ted Turner’s
global vision of being the premier destination for news both
domestic and international. I am proud that since I took the
job, we have made good on that goal. From Election Day 2012 to
our recent coverage of Superstorm Sandy and the Newtown school
massacre, we have remained the network that Americans turn to
when news matters most. On the international front, we have done
groundbreaking reporting on everything from the Arab Spring and
the uprising in Syria to the Japanese tsunami and the financial
crisis in Europe. In 2011 that coverage brought us the best
ratings we had had in years, and in 2012 it won us a record
number of awards, including two Emmys, three
Peabodys and four Eppys for our digital coverage. 
The second condition was that we do more to drive editorial
integration between CNN.com and our TV networks. I am gratified
by the progress we have made in this area, from our weekly In
Depth offerings to the inspiring CNN Heroes collaboration to the
growth of CNN Money, iReport, Belief Blog, In America and other
digital franchises. As our
formidable traffic numbers attest, CNN’s future as a go-to
destination for news online and across today’s new mobile and
social media platforms looks very bright. 
The third condition was that we make CNN a leader in diversity
in its broadest sense--in the backgrounds of our on- and off-air
talent, but also in the range of their experience and points of
view. As Executive Vice President in charge of program and
talent development, I was thrilled to attract Amy Entelis,
Vinnie Malhotra and Ramon Escobar to CNN and to work with them
to recruit journalists like Jake Tapper,
John Berman and Miguel Marquez, contributors like Margaret
Hoover, Van Jones, Ross Douthat, Charles Blow, Ron Brownstein
and Ryan Lizza, and specialists like ESPN sports reporter Rachel
Nichols. 
On the programming front, my team has created the exciting new
CNN Films franchise for distinguished documentaries and brought
Anthony Bourdain and Morgan Spurlock to CNN to launch signature
shows that will expand our scope of storytelling. 
Now, with Jeff Zucker’s arrival, we have a new leader with his
own forceful ideas about where to take CNN’s reporting,
programming and brand. For him to succeed, I believe he deserves
his own team and management structure and the freedom to
communicate one clear vision to the staff. I have shared that
conclusion with him and he has agreed to let me step down as
Managing Editor and move on from CNN. 
As someone who worked with Jeff at NBC, I know what a bold
innovator he is, and I wish him and you all the best as you
embark on CNN’s next great adventure. 
Good luck and thanks for everything, 
Mark 
(bjh) NY 
#<873920.660640.3.4.0.0.76>#
 
 
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