The Mirror

Can This CNN Employee Fix The Network’s Horrible Relationship With Black Journos?

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Some relationships aren’t meant to last.

Last year, CNN blasted National Association of Black Journalists President Bob Butler for saying the network was pulling out of financially supporting their convention. At the time, Butler complained mercilessly that the network had treated black journalists shabbily.

“I know CNN is going through layoffs, but the departure of so many African Americans is worrisome,” Butler wrote in a release at the time.

Some members even ridiculed Jeff Zucker‘s handling of minorities at the network.

CNN sat on the fence. Even though a CNN employee had informed Butler the network would not help finance the NABJ convention, a spokesperson declared that the network powers that be had not made up their minds. “Consider your request denied,” Butler said he was told by someone at CNN whom he wouldn’t name.

Well, Butler was right.

CNN will not be recruiting at the NABJ conference this year in Minneapolis, The Mirror has learned.

But just like last year, the network is insisting this isn’t true.

When The Mirror reached out to CNN and asked about the claim that the network will not be recruiting at this year’s convention, a spokesperson said, “Not sure where that info came from, but it’s simply untrue. I don’t know all the details, but I do know we are recruiting there and sending a number of people including Christal [Jones].”

Jones is a CNN publicist based in Atlanta with no hiring authority to bring on new talent.

When I followed up with more questions — for instance, will CNN help finance the convention? — I received no response.

The Mirror was, however, able to learn more about the situation from NABJ.

“We have no record of CNN being a corporate partner for NABJ this year,” Butler told The Mirror Wednesday by phone. “There is no recruiting booth. We had a promotional sale for registrations for about $200 and I believe CNN bought about 10 of those registrations. So some of their employees are coming, but as far as them supporting NABJ as a  corporate partner, that is not the case.”

Even more eye-popping: With Butler’s time as president nearly up, a CNN employee is running for NABJ president. That candidate would be Mira Lowe, wife of former NABJ President Herb Lowe. She’s the senior features editor of CNN Digital.

Asked a Mirror source close to the matter: “What the hell does that look like having an employee run for president and her company won’t even recruit?”

Perhaps if Lowe wins, CNN will change its tune — again.