Laid Off CNN Employee Emails Jeff Zucker


An employee that was let go from CNN decided to email Jeff Zucker and other Turner brass after landing another job. 

The employee was laid off as part of the "Turner 2020" cuts and then felt he was blacklisted by the company from being hired in any other open position. 

He shared his email to Zucker with FTVLive and we wanted to share it with you:


Just some constructive feedback from one of your stockholders.

I've been a Time Warner stockholder for the past 17 years, and was a CNN employee for 15 years before being impacted by John's "Turner 2020" mass layoffs in October 2014.

Wanted to congratulate you on the reported news that CNN had a billion dollars in profit in 2016. That's great! I'm so glad that my "eliminated" $49,400 a year HLN Research Analyst position might have eventually contributed, in whatever microscopic way, to the company's increased profitability.

Although I do find it amusing that the workloads of my "eliminated" position and the "eliminated" position of my former co-worker still needed to be done by someone, and that both positions were quietly combined into one 9 months after we left. That "new" position was filled by a Millennial who is about 10 years younger (I was laid off two weeks after I turned 35). But I digress; my younger replacement is actually a very nice [person] whom I had the pleasure to work with when I was briefly back as a part time, work from home temp last year (you may remember my name from all those "Weekend NPower" ratings reports I sent out).

In any event, just thought I'd share with you the fact that I'll be cashing in all of my Time Warner stock fairly soon. I'll need the money to do things like buy food and pay utilities. See, it's now almost two and a half years later and I'm still looking for employment. I thought having "CNN" on my resume would be a plus when applying elsewhere, but apparently I was mistaken. While CNN/Turner/Time Warner revels in multi-billion dollar profits, there are still a whole lot of us looking for work and having to raid our retirement investments and other savings. And yes, the severance package was great (as it should have been). But that only got me through the first year. I started looking for work in February of 2015.

I've applied for jobs at companies all over Atlanta (sorry, can't move to NYC). Including 30+ openings back at CNN and Turner. Initially I really wanted to come back, in some capacity. I was willing to take a pay cut, to work nights/weekends/holidays, or as a temp. I even applied for production assistant positions, which were four pay grades below what I'd been making as an Analyst. As someone who started out selling CNN hats and t-shirts at the Turner Store part time (as a 20 year old college sophomore), I wasn't adverse to starting from the bottom again. What I'd really wanted to do was come back into some type of viewer social media feedback position for CNN Digital, considering that I worked for almost a decade in the department that CNN stupidly eliminated, Viewer Communications Management. There, I was a Programming and News Specialist. 

But, since early 2015, I only got 4 in person Turner interviews (one at the CNN Library, one at TCM, one at CNN Image & Sound, and one with the Entertainment Library at Techwood). They chose someone else each time. Fair enough. I guess.

The worst, most demoralizing part about this layoff experience wasn't the layoff itself, but rather what has seemed like either an unofficial or official HR blacklisting of those of us who were cut. Even though we were supposedly "eligible for re-hire." I almost had the sneaking suspicion during the few in person interviews I did get that I was only being interviewed as an "HR quota," to show on paper that the company was "interviewing the laid off people (wink, wink)." And that's not counting all the positions that get "fake posted" because the hiring manager already knows who they want. Or because HR "forgets" to post the job. And so on.

I do know of a few people who were hired back (into regular status positions, not just temp work), but most of those I've spoken with have said they were completely ignored or rejected. I was very disillusioned by how, when I was back during my [6 hours a week] temp assignment, people I wrote to in other departments didn't even have the professional courtesy to reply when I'd politely write to ask about additional temp work or other opportunities. Including HR recruiters and some people who'd received my reports for years. And during one of my Turner interviews, the interviewer stopped herself and changed the subject when she was about to refer to those who were laid off as "waste" that needed to be cut. I guess she realized that I was sitting right in front of her and it might be insensitive to use that term. Perhaps it's easier to think of other people as "waste" when you still have your job.

If the company is not blacklisting those who got "2020'd," it sure isn't doing a very good job of showing it. Because that is definitely the perception out there. Which is sad, because so many formerly loyal and devoted employees have now turned completely against the company they were once so proud to work for.

But back to my Time Warner stock. After my severance ran out, I spent down my savings account, then cashed in the inherited savings bonds from my late Grandmother's estate, then most recently cashed out the Roth IRA I'd started while I was on severance. Since all that is now gone, next up I'll be cashing in the Time Warner stock.

But before I do so, I'll be voting NO on the proposed Time Warner/AT&T merger.

Mainly because I don't want to see any more of my former co-workers needlessly lose their jobs in the inevitable layoffs that will follow. Not to mention the fact that I cancelled my own home AT&T service because of their terrible customer service and product. They suck. Finally, the last thing CNN needs is more corporate interference in its news coverage, despite whatever claims from AT&T that they will be "hands off." Yeah, just like Time Warner has been since the 1990s. LOL.

I'm sure my voting "NO" won't make one damn bit of difference to what happens, but at least I'll have a clear conscience.

Just for reference, below is a partial list of all the different Turner jobs I applied to since 2015. After about the first ten I pretty much knew I was wasting my time, but I continued to apply just for the heck of it. Because I guess you never know, right?

I'm sure I'll find something, at some other company, eventually. But I wanted to give you just one concrete example of how "re-allocating resources" and short term "cost cutting" (i.e., "getting rid of the older people") impacts the lives of real human beings. I know it's "just business," but I don't think it's a very smart way to do business over the long term. 

Sincerely disgusted,

[name redacted]

Formerly of:
CNN Audience Research (2012-2014)
CNN Viewer Communications Management (2002-2012)
CNN Library (2002-2004)
The Turner Store (1999-2003) Intern (2001)
Turner Studios Music Production Library Intern (2000)


Turner Jobs I applied for, since February 2015
Social Media Associate Producer -
Production Asst, Documentaries
CNN Researcher, The Row
Overnight Media Coordinator-CNN, I + S Production Services
News Desk Researcher, CNN International Desk
Writer/Producer, Social Discovery
Metadata Analyst
Program Planning Analyst, Turner
Billing Specialist
Mobile Associate Producer,
Archivist, CNN Library
Associate Producer, CNN Digital
Social Media Specialist, TCM
Newsdesk Researcher- CNN International, Atlanta
Metadata Analyst

Programming Strategy, Acquisition & Operations Coordinator
Programming Coordinator
Writer, CNN Ticker
Music Rights & Licenses Administrator
Commercial Clearance Standards Editor
Social Publishing Producer - CNN Atlanta
Community Manager - HLN - Planning and Programming
Selection Archivist, CNN Library
Content Coordinator, CNN
Content Coordinator, CNN (Temp)
Production Assistant, Dr. Drew
Research Analyst, Adult Swim
Writer-Internal Communications
Library Services Specialist
Associate Producer, CNN Video Programming
Traffic Log Planning Editor