CNN reduces Hong Kong headcount by 9

MUMBAI: Major organisational restructuring is currently underway at CNN International. As in a lot of cases, this one will leave a few people hunting for jobs. The broadcaster's Hong Kong bureau has laid off up nine production staff members and also dropped at least eight freelancers.

Reports indicate that reporters, anchors and technical staff have not been affected by the job losses. Meanwhile the Atlanta headquarters will also reduce the production team headcount by 20. However, anchors do not have to worry about being without a job.

A report in the South China Morning Post indicated that CNN's European headquarters in London could also see cutbacks.

When queried whether the cuts have come about as a result of the broadcaster implementing the Digital News Gathering (DNG) system, a CNN spokesperson replied, "The cutbacks are not as a result of the DNG system. We are making smarter use of the technology and staff available to better serve our audiences . The new technology, developed for and by CNN, enables correspondents to be more proactive in filing their stories, and enhance their ability to respond quickly to breaking news as it happens."

DNG allows reporters to perform multi-tasking as video correspondents. They report the news and shoot it on camera. The new DNG system which combines new lightweight cameras and advanced satellite and Internet communications technology was pioneered by CNN's New Delhi Bureau and will now be used by all 28 international bureaus.

The spokesperson, meanwhile, denied that the new developments would lead to shifting of production work done out of Hong Kong being shifted to London and Atlanta. "The production output will continue, as before, from Hong Kong and we will continue to broadcast 30 hours a week of programming from Hong Kong -- with prime-time morning and evening news programmes plus the popular chat show Talk Asia. There will be no impact on what the viewers see on CNNI," the spokesperson clarified.

CNN International recently reorganised its newsgathering operations to make more use of staff in its news hubs in London and Atlanta.

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