CNN Cuts Science


What kind of a world is this? They fire Miles O’Brien and they keep that unfunny bag of nuts Jeanne Moos?
CNN, the Cable News Network, announced yesterday that it will cut its entire science, technology, and environment news staff, including Miles O’Brien, its chief technology and environment correspondent, as well as six executive producers. Mediabistro’s TVNewser broke the story.

“We want to integrate environmental, science and technology reporting into the general editorial structure rather than have a stand alone unit,” said CNN spokesperson Barbara Levin. “Now that the bulk of our environmental coverage is being offered through the Planet in Peril franchise, which is produced by the Anderson Cooper 360 program, there is no need for a separate unit.”

A source at the network, who asked not to be named, said the move is a strategic and structural business decision to cut staff, unrelated to the current economic downturn. Financially, “CNN is doing very, very well,” the source said, and none of the health and medical news staff has been cut. Yet the big question, of course, is whether or not the reorganization will decrease the overall amount of CNN’s science, technology, and environment coverage. CNN says no, but it’s hard to imagine that it won’t-Anderson Cooper or not, fewer people is fewer people.
Cutting reporters does not save a news-gathering organization money. It further degrades the product they’re selling to the public. When the product itself—the news content—suffers because of less and less content, the news organization becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.