CNN’s Jeff Zucker Issues Surprising Feel Good Memo

Betsy Rothstein | Reporter

After a slew of layoffs in recent weeks, CNN President Jeff Zucker has issued the feel good memo of the year. Because don’t people need to be reassured that everything’s okay as their colleagues pack up their belongings? Guess it’s better than taking hallway selfies, but what do I know?

“I wanted to take a moment to share some exciting news that highlights the momentum of CNN around the globe,” he wrote in a memo sent to staff Wednesday morning at 9:36 a.m.

In five bullets, Zucker unpacked various pieces of evidence on how CNN is doing well. We’ll provide them in brief, in some parts, paraphrased, with what he may have left out. And finally, see the full memo, untouched, below.

1. CNN, according to a Pew Research Survey, is the most trusted source in news by political news consumers. You here that? MOST TRUSTED. “CNN is cited by Americans as the most trustworthy source for news about government and politics, ahead of every broadcast news division, every cable news channel, every newspaper and magazine, every website and the daily comedy shows that cover politics. In this era of tremendous partisan divide, to be considered the most trusted source of news is a major accomplishment.” What he left out: Not the highest rated, but the most trusted.

2. CNN now has 20 million followers on @CNNbrk. He writes, “This is rare territory. No other news organization comes close.” My commentary: He’s absolutely right on this one: BuzzFeed: 1.58 million, ABC News: 3.63 million, CBS News: 3.37 million, NBC News: 1.85 million, Gawker: 463K.

3. CNN digital’s growth is absolutely exploding. “For the first time ever, CNN is #1 among all websites in domestic desktop video starts, ahead of Yahoo and Huffington Post. And, with nearly 1 billion page views, CNN.com overcame Yahoo News in September to become the most consumed news and information website in the US. In fact, CNN.com was ahead of its closest competitor by 16 percent. And CNN maintained its number one spot in mobile news, a position we have held for more than seven years running. Bottom line … CNN.com is #1 in video, traffic and mobile!” What he left out: Just don’t expect this to mean you’re necessarily keeping your job. What’s more, KC Estenson, head of CNN Digital, recently resigned. His exact title was: Senior VP and General Manager of CNN. com, responsible for all aspects of CNN Digital’s worldwide business endeavors. Why is that? Did he want to spend more time with his family?

4. CNNMoney is also exploding. A quick humblebrag: “We only took full control of CNNMoney in June, and the growth and success in just four months has been astounding.”

5. A “global, independent” study you’ve never heard of was released last week. Conclusion? The study “reaffirms” that CNN is “the leading international news brand, reaching an unrivaled four out of 10 upscale consumers and decision makers in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.” What he left out: He’s transferring you to the Liberia bureau. (Joking.)

He ends the memo on a more personal note, thanking all employees for their “outstanding work” and for excelling on the big stories of the moment.

“As we know, CNN is judged in many ways,” he wrote. “The results above highlight just some of the ways we are measuring our progress. Journalistically, we have continued to excel in recent weeks, with our global coverage of the ongoing ebola crisis as well as the continuing conflict in Iraq and Syria. …As we head into the final months of the year, I wanted to thank each of you for your outstanding work.” 

What…no shout-out for the CNN Roots series?

See the full memo…

October 22, 2014

I wanted to take a moment to share some exciting news that highlights the momentum of CNN around the globe.

  • A new Pew Research Survey, out this week, finds that CNN is the most recognized and, more importantly, most trusted source of news by political news consumers. CNN is cited by Americans as the most trustworthy source for news about government and politics, ahead of every broadcast news division, every cable news channel, every newspaper and magazine, every website and the daily comedy shows that cover politics. In this era of tremendous partisan divide, to be considered the most trusted source of news is a major accomplishment.

 

  • As of today, we now have 20 million followers on @CNNbrk on Twitter. This is rare territory. No other news organization comes close. The only other brands of any type with more followers are YouTube and Twitter itself. The other 25 accounts with more than 20 million followers are all individual celebrities. And, by the way, @CNN is not far behind. The nearly 15 million followers of @CNN make it the second-most followed news account on Twitter.

 

  • The results for CNN digital for the month of September are being released today, and they show extraordinary growth. For the first time ever, CNN is #1 among all websites in domestic desktop video starts, ahead of Yahoo and Huffington Post. And, with nearly 1 billion page views, CNN.com overcame Yahoo News in September to become the most consumed news and information website in the US. In fact, CNN.com was ahead of its closest competitor by 16 percent. And CNN maintained its number one spot in mobile news, a position we have held for more than seven years running. Bottom line … CNN.com is #1 in video, traffic and mobile!

 

  • September also saw another all-time high for CNNMoney video on desktop and mobile and an all-time record for CNNMoney on mobile web page views, uniques and video. We only took full control of CNNMoney in June, and the growth and success in just four months has been astounding.

 

  • And, finally, a global, independent study, out last week, named CNN the undisputed #1 international news brand. The latest IPSOS Affluent Global Survey reaffirmed CNN as the leading international news brand, reaching an unrivaled four out of 10 upscale consumers and decision makers in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. That scale of an affluent international audience is larger than all news competitors in every metric across both TV and digital platforms. At a time of incredible international news, and more choice than ever, this is a testament to the unparalleled global resources and brand of CNN Worldwide.

As we know, CNN is judged in many ways. The results above highlight just some of the ways we are measuring our progress.

Journalistically, we have continued to excel in recent weeks, with our global coverage of the ongoing ebola crisis as well as the continuing conflict in Iraq and Syria. In the United States, CNN has launched two more hit original series, Somebody’s Gotta Do It and This Life with Lisa Ling, to join the successful programs from Anthony Bourdain, John Walsh and Morgan Spurlock.

As we head into the final months of the year, I wanted to thank each of you for your outstanding work.

Jeff

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