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Friday, December 18, 2009

Jim Walton's End of Year Message to the CNN Staff

Jim Walton (CNN Worldwide President) sent this end of year message to the CNN/HLN troops yesterday. Credit to TVNewser for the find.

From: On Behalf Of Walton, Jim
Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2009 11:28 AM
Subject: Note to Staff

December 17, 2009

To: CNN Staff
From: Jim Walton

Because as professionals and as an organization we are wired to look forward rather than back; because time passes quickly and it's easy to forget all of the moments that make a year; and because it's just as important to savor accomplishments as it is to collect them, I want to close 2009 with a reminder of what you did that set CNN apart and helped us win.

First, some breaking news: Despite the worst economic climate in 75 years, CNN will finish 2009 with double-digit profit growth for the sixth consecutive year. Our collective commitment to cost management has helped us achieve our most profitable year ever. You did that. And it was hard. But you understood the importance to our future of weathering this storm and you did your part, and more, to see us through it.

We presented consumers with three compelling, new CNN experiences: the re-branded HLN, which caught fire and is the year's fastest-growing brand in cable news; the re-designed, now with enhanced video and deeper news and brand offerings; and the re-imagined CNN International, featuring more analysis, connectivity, perspective and an entirely new prime time line-up. I liken each of these efforts to changing the tires on a moving car. But you did it. Congratulations.

Our work on emerging platforms generated a new kind and level of buzz around the CNN brand. The Facebook partnerships, the iPhone app and an exponentially higher profile in the social media universe connected us to new audiences and had them talking to, with and about us. Great stuff. And again, all you.

This year we put proper emphasis on how we work with each other; invest in each other; learn from and listen to each other; translate it to our culture; and reflect it in our content. Our people initiatives added work to days that were already full and exercised muscles we've frankly neglected. But we're better managers of people, resources and responsibilities today than we were a year ago, two years ago or five years ago. And it's all your doing.

Fine-tuning our structure to reflect and support what we are now and will become, as opposed to what we used to be, continued across the CNN portfolio. We added staff in areas where we were thin and where we will grow, and will end 2009 with more employees than we had at the start of the year. Your judgment, planning and vision did that, too.

Finally, we continued to deliver the quality journalism that is the promise, signature and soul of CNN around the world. We brought 12 new CNN shows to air in 2009, an extraordinary feat in any year. Our colleagues at CNN/U.S. added memorable new chapters to the in America and CNN Heroes stories, and CNN journalists led from Iran and Iraq to Copenhagen and Mexico. But what's really important to me is that we did work that was relevant, current, essential and valued; work that made a difference in peoples' lives; and work that was worthy of the CNN imprimatur. I can't give you a higher compliment than that. You did it, and you've earned it.

The year ahead will bring challenges, some carried over from 2009 and others brand new. I'm confident in our ability to meet what comes our way as long as we continue to think like owners, act like leaders and put good journalism first. I'll promise you this: Whatever we do in 2010, we'll do it together.

Enjoy the holidays. Remember the people who make your work life possible and your life meaningful. And be proud of your special contribution to CNN. I am grateful to each of you.

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Anonymous said...

Lets hope Jim Walton can get people in place
to turn things around at CNN. Walton has been
with CNN from the beginning. One thing I hope
CNN will do in 2010 is more live programming.
CNN has to look like a 24/7 365 news channel.

Anonymous said...

Jim Walton has to win a prize for spin and best PR in the business.
Does he not realize that CNN International isn't in ALL the markets in the United States, and I live in the largest market on the East Coast and he praises his employees for "connectiveness," his wording not mine.
This is what you call a good will effort to keep the good ship lollipop afloat. "Look ahead at your accomplishments," even though we were consistently "fourth," and don't look back because you just might see WHY we were consistently "fourth," and that might just knock all the "wind right out of my sails," letter of nonaccomplishment.
His BS should be part of Kathy Griffin's standup routine on New Years Eve!

Anonymous said...

You do have to realize 2008 was a very different
time. There was an historic presidential election.
That is what lead to the record numbers for CNN.
No way in the world was it possible for CNN to
keep those numbers.At this time 2009 is history.
What will matter is what CNN will do in 2010.
We will not get a read on how CNN will do until
about the 3rd week of January.

Anonymous said...

I think Walton was sending it to all of the people
who are under the CNN umbrella.I am glad that he
appreciates his employees and says so. What's
with all of the negativity. There is CNN, HLN.
CNN International, and other CNN

Anonymous said...

@7:20pm: With your uplifting spirit, perhaps you should apply for a job at CNN. They could sure use you with spin.
At this time of year it is hard to find a CEO in any company that doesn't thank their employees, even those they've let go.

Anonymous said...

Gee, who was the whiz kid who fired Miles O'Brien? Was it Jim Walton or Jon Klein who actually said we don't need him for science because we have duh, Planet in Peril???
Well, we got a planet that's in peril, but that firing had to be one of the stupidest moves made in a year of really stupid moves for CNN....or was it made at the end of 2008 for the great CNN year of '09? Is there a fifth place for 2010?