How Jeff Zucker is Seeking to Reshape CNN

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By EMILY STEEL, New Tork Times 

One change that Jeff Zucker has made since taking over at CNN is to double down on breaking news, focusing coverage on just two or three major stories throughout the day. Credit Asa Mathat/D: All Things Digital
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Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, seemed to be having a blast Wednesday evening at a party for a new original series. Perched on the arm of a chair, he watched intently as a magician performed tricks with coins, cards and a Rubik’s cube.

At CNN, Mr. Zucker — the once-wunderkind TV news executive who turns 50 next year — could use some magic of his own.

Twenty months after taking over one of the most prominent news brands, Mr. Zucker is still trying to define CNN’s place in a world of unlimited real-time information. He is laying off journalists and cutting expenses while trying to keep a once-leading cable network relevant in the digital age. The efforts largely remain a work in progress, underlining the stark challenges facing the news business.

So far this year, CNN ratings are hovering near 20-year lows. Average prime-time viewers are down about 6 percent to 176,000, compared with 2013, in the audience that attracts the most revenue for news channels, viewers between the ages of 25 and 54. Total day viewers this year are down 7.6 percent, to 122,000, according to Nielsen.

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A scene from “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” a new CNN show hosted by Mike Rowe about people and their passions. Credit CNN
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“There is no evidence right now that any of that strategy is working,” said Kannan Venkateshwar, a media analyst at Barclays. “The bigger question is, In this kind of an ecosystem, where does CNN fit in?” ’

READ THE REST OF THIS FEATURE-LENGTH ARTICLE  HERE  AT THE NEW YORK TIMES WEBSITE

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