CNN revamps digital news leadership

CNN revamps digital news leadership
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CNN on Tuesday informed staff of new leadership posts for CNN Digital, with Rachel Smolkin as a new vice president in charge of national and breaking news, as well as political coverage.

Meredith Artley, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of CNN Digital Worldwide, made the announcement in a staff memo, saying Smolkin's new position was created to help “strongly bridge our national politics and breaking news coverage and teams.”

The executive editor of breaking news, Amanda Wills, will report to Smolkin. Artley said the company is looking to fill Smolkin’s previous position of executive editor in charge of politics.


Other changes at the executive level included Cathy Straight filling a new vice president post for features and opinion. Straight had been managing the national digital news desk as an executive editor. CNN is now looking to fill that position as well.

The creation of Straight’s new position, Artley said, is meant to “unite and elevate beats and views that expand CNN beyond our hard news coverage.” In her new role Straight will be drawing on news from beats such as entertainment, culture, wellness, travel, style, relationships and identity.

Smolkin and Straight will both report to Artley in their new positions as part of CNN Digital’s leadership team. The other members are Marcus Mabry, vice president of global programming; Jason Farkas, vice president and general manager of CNN Business; and Inga Thordar, executive editor of CNN Digital International.

Jon Reyes, executive creative director for visuals, is leaving his position on the leadership team and the network is searching for a successor. CNN would not say what Reyes's new position is, but a source familiar with the changes said he is moving to another job with the network.

The revamp comes after CNN announced in mid-March that it was building a new team dedicated to climate coverage. “We are formalizing and expanding our climate coverage with dedicated force,” CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker wrote in a staff memo at the time.