Changes at CNN Reflect New Reality of Convergence

Dec.23.10 | About: Time Warner (TWX)

Troubled news channel CNN reorganized its reporting structure yesterday, taking a giant step in the right direction. Consolidating the many CNN news operations under one structure is apparently a “key recommendation of the One CNN project” which appears to be moving the worldwide news operation toward the kind of convergence that will be necessary in the new digital media landscape I outline in my book “C-Scape."

Besides recognizing the fact that consumers now engage CNN on multiple platforms, this new structure, announced by Ken Jautz and Tony Maddox, should allow the news gathering force to adapt to new technologies and delivery forms quickly and without disruption. The important thing is to build an efficient news gathering operation that is able to deliver its output on every platform imaginable, thus reaching its prime audience wherever and whenever it wants to be reached.

Under the new structure announced yesterday, news gathering for all the CNN operations will, for the first time, be placed unto one group, operated by Maddox and a newly-named (in 2011) managing editor. The group will produce the content for CNN, CNN International, CNN.com “and all other editorial units and platforms."

This is much more than a traditional reorganization. This is a major step in the right direction by a news operation desperately in need of rejuvenation and one that has been bogged down by confusing and overlapping reporting and editing structures. There is still a lot of work needed to clean up operations on the inside. For example, this structure will require a new generation of editor/producers who understand multiple platforms. Do they have them? Can they be found?

Also, no mention was made of CNNMoney.com and where it fits in the new news gathering operation, but one can hope that they will continue down the path of convergence.

And, as Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) is acutely aware, the potential for success ultimately lies in the execution of the idea, not the idea itself.