In a glorious video sign-off from her position as a CNN reporter on Capitol Hill, Lisa Desjardins shows a great deal of class — expressing her gratitude and fondness for her colleagues and bureau — and just a touch of edge: “I’m sorry that CNN has decided to eliminate my reporter position on the Hill and cut back on congressional coverage. Of course, I’m also sorry that Congress is such a complete mess right now, but maybe that means that we should watch them more closely.”
CNN is in the midst of a cost-cutting initiative. Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, announced earlier this month that the network will “do less and have to do it with less.” Turner Broadcasting, of which CNN is a unit, is offering voluntary buyouts to older staffers.
Yet Desjardins’ departure is part of a separate makeover within CNN: In early August, about 12 staffers on the CNN digital politics team learned that their positions were being eliminated, the better to ease a complete change in orientation for the outfit — which is moving to an emphasis on social mobile video content. CNN officials have promised that the re-do will expand the size of the digital politics team.
When asked about Desjardins’ allegation about cutbacks on congressional coverage, a network spokeswoman sent along these thoughts:
We’re heading into an election season so, of course, you’ll see reporters covering congress on Capitol Hill —as well as in the field covering key races. Chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash was in Kentucky just this week covering the marquis race in the battle for control of the Senate. She did interviews with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Portions aired this week and will continue to air next week as we beef up coverage heading into the midterms.