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CNN lays off staffers after employee appreciation week

/ Source: Reuters

By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES ( - CNN laid off about 50 staff-members on Friday, citing technological advances and "work flow" changes, TheWrap has confirmed.

Photojournalists, technicians and librarians were laid off, though no reporters got the axe, according to individuals with knowledge of the layoffs.

"It was a complete shock. No one had any idea this was going to happen," said one shaken employee. "This is not the friendly company it used to be. And no one really knows why - the economy, the ratings or what."

The cuts come to the cable network's newsrooms in Miami, Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Another individual said the cuts were more than 50, and closer to 70.

Staffers at CNN told TheWrap that they were shocked at the sudden layoffs, especially given that it was employee appreciation week at the New York office, with gifts like hand cream handed out and appreciative signage decorating the building.

Nearly a dozen photojournalists were given pink slips -- four in New York, five in Washington, one in Miami, and one in Los Angeles -- according to an individual with knowledge.

Two of the laid-off photographers had just finished covering the Conrad Murray trial.

To save money, the network plans to transfer certain departments that can work remotely to Atlanta. CNN's graphic department was moved to Atlanta months ago, foreshadowing things to come.

In a note to staff, Jack Womack, CNN's SVP of domestic news operations, wrote that the layoffs come after a 3-year review of the cable news network's Image + Sound operations.

"Now that we have completed this three-year review, we believe that we have the right resources in the right places and the proper staffing at Image + Sound, and that the unit is well-positioned to have an even more positive impact on our networks and platforms," Womack wrote.