Two More CNN Employees Depart The Network

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Two more CNN media team employees announced their departure from the network Wednesday amid President Chris Licht’s staffing changes.

Senior editor An Phung and managing editor Alex Koppelman, both previous colleagues of former anchor Brian Stelter, suddenly announced their departures shortly after several major anchors and reporters had stepped down. Their announcements came amid Licht’s attempt to reform the network in order to produce more bipartisan coverage.

“I am sad to announce that I will be leaving CNN,” Phung said. “There isn’t enough room here to praise all the people who made it a great place to work. And there are so many people to thank for helping me tell good and important stories about the threats against journalism and democracy. I will be spending my remaining time at CNN expressing my gratitude to them.”

“My five and a half years on the media desk with @AlexKoppelman, @oliverdarcy  and @brianstelter are ones that I will never forget. They made me a stronger editor, a more engaged journalist and a more astute observer of the rhythms of our ever-changing and troubled industry,” she continued.

Koppelman made the same announcement at the exact same time Wednesday afternoon. (RELATED: CNN Announces Major Shakeup For Morning Lineup) 

“Some news: I’m leaving CNN after six years there. It’s been an incredible place to work, and a privilege to manage an amazing group of editors and reporters, and get to work with even more—so many I can’t possibly name or thank them individually,” Koppelman said. “I’m so proud of the work we were able to do together—revealing allegations against Mark Halperin, the series of stories that led to the deplatforming of Alex Jones, reporting on sexual assault and Uber, ferreting out misinfo, breaking the Twitter whistleblower news and much more.”

“There are changes on one of the teams I led, the Media team, but I’m really glad @oliverdarcy is there to take the baton. (And that the Reliable Sources newsletter will FINALLY be shorter. Sorry @brianstelter, had to say it.)”

The announcements came just a few weeks following the departure of Stelter, who left the network over the cancellation of his weekly Sunday program, “Reliable Sources.” The ending of the show came as Licht and executives at the network continue to evaluate left-leaning anchors, including Jim Acosta and Don Lemon, and have been making cuts since the Warner Bros. Discovery merger in the early spring.

In a Jan. 18 tweet, Koppelman announced three job positions dedicated to combating “misinformation.”  He described the  combat of misinformation as covering the “uses, abuses, and distortions” of it and the impact it has on everyone. In January 2021, Phung sarcastically said it is “shocking that the insurrectionists are racists” in connection to the January 6 Capitol riot.

The calls for a bipartisan leaning came after Liberty Media chairman John Malone, the largest shareholder of CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, initially made the suggestion to revert back to non-partisan coverage.

Earlier this month, the network’s former White House correspondent John Harwood announced his sudden departure from the network. He had a long history of criticizing Republicans and former President Donald Trump, including when a leaked Wikileaks email from 2015 found that he contacted Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta about which questions to ask former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush.