CNN Center besieged by protesters

EZN3ygGWsAkp5hxA large group of individuals protesting the George Floyd death have begun protesting outside CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, the CNN Center. Police deployed mace at one point to try and disperse the crowd, according to local reporter Matt Johnson of WSB. The individuals, as seen in the video below, are defacing the iconic CNN sign as well as jumping on it.

Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, during a news conference, spoke directly to the protesters: “You have defaced the CNN building. [Founder] Ted Turner started CNN in Atlanta, 40 years ago because he believed in who we are as a city.”

So far, CNN has yet to comment officially on the matter.

Behind the CNN Center skeleton crew

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with John Camacho, a 21-year veteran based in CNN Center Atlanta who serves as a senior engineer for the network, to discuss how things are functioning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Explaining he is working on part of a 4-person team, he said, “We are the maintenance and engineers who keep CNN on air. Some aspects of the equipment cannot be remotely controlled offsite. If a camera fails and you need to bring in another camera or repair that camera before the next show, we are there. If the database or the server itself fails, you have to physically be there to repair that system.”

Camacho is working a drastically different, busier schedule than his normal, he explains to THR. “My normal schedule is Wednesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., with 30 minutes for lunch. Now I’m working Thursday through Sunday, doing four twelves.” He added, “But with this pandemic, it’s almost like everyone is on their toes to make sure every piece of equipment is running. I’ll give you an example, CNN has two control rooms but they created another backup control room just in case the second control room is contaminated. So we have to make sure that control room has all the content and all the video bugs that you see on the screen.”

Speaking of management, Camacaho said, “And [CNN has] been very good at making sure that if we’re there, we’re being fed. They are really at it when it comes to making sure the crew gets taken care of.”

A week ago, CNN president Jeff Zucker praised staffers like Camacho, effusively saying they were “the glue that keeps us on the air and all together.”

Presidential hopeful Eric Swalwell says CNN may need to consider leaving Atlanta over anti-abortion law

U.S. Democratic hopeful Eric Swalwell floated the idea last night during a town hall with moderator Jim Sciutto that CNN may need to consider leaving Atlanta over Georgia’s new anti-abortion law.

“Yeah, if that law goes into effect and CNN might have to move,” he said on air, referencing the restrictive Georgia law that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. “There’s a lot of young women who work at CNN who’ll be affected.”

CNN Center serves as the headquarters for CNN International and HLN, as well as the home for production for much of CNN/US. All of the network’s domestic weekday anchors are based in either the network’s new Hudson Yards office or Washington, D.C.

“If the new law holds we will reconsider Georgia as the home to any new productions,” a statement from WarnerMedia said on Thursday.

CNN is a subsidiary of WarnerMedia, owned by new corporate giant AT&T.

CNN guts Health Unit with layoffs

Mere weeks after CNN had buyouts and reported layoffs coming (which CNN denied, with its chief spokeswoman Allison Gollust, “There are no mass layoffs at CNN. I have no idea where that crazy rumor came from. We have recently offered a voluntary buyout option for employees, and just over 100 people voluntarily decided to take it), news trickled out late Friday that on Tuesday, staffers from the Health Unit at CNN met with representatives who informed them they had been pink-slipped. A source with knowledge of the matter states that effectively the entire 7 person Atlanta-based health unit has been pink-slipped.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen are safe, however.

A spokesperson told TVNewser, “As part of the normal course of business, our newsgathering team made a small restructure earlier this week that ultimately impacts 6-7 employees within CNN’s Health Unit.”

TVNewser further notes CNN’s Southeast Bureau in Atlanta, CNN Health and CNN Climate will now be under one leadership, something that was not the case before.

HLN’s Lynn Smith expecting baby two

HLN anchor Lynn Smith revealed on Friday that she is expecting her second child, notes TVNewser.

Her announcement was unique, TVNewser points out, in that it was done in front of 800 people at the 10th annual Mom 2.0 conversation in Pasadena, CA. Husband Graham Smith and their two year old son Lochlan are stoked.

Carlos Montero leaves CNN en Español after 2 decades

Carlos Montero is leaving CNN en Español after two decades, effective November 30, reports MediaMoves. Montero served as a co-anchor of Cafe CNN, the network’s morning show.

According to insiders, he and CNNE were unable to reach an agreement on renewing his contract.

A spokesperson for the network confirmed his departure: “We are grateful to Carlos for all his many contributions to the network and wish him the very best.”

Trump supporters plan protest for Saturday at CNN Center

President Trump’s supporters have a protest planned for Saturday at 11:00am until 12:30pm at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, reports Breitbart. They are planning to protest the “fake news” produced by CNN.

“We’re encouraging people to come out and support our president,” said Debbie Dooley, one of 22 national co-founders of the Tea Party and co-founder of Main Street Patriots. “And to condemn the extreme biased coverage at CNN.”

Her plan is to have the crowd large enough to surround the entire CNN HQ.

“Bring your signs and let’s show CNN that we support President Trump and call them out for becoming an arm of the DNC intent on bringing down President Trump with biased coverage and false innuendos,” the invitation on Main Street Patriots’ Facebook page states.

CNN hires Cyril Vanier as anchor

France 24 anchor/reporter Cyril Vanier has joined CNN International as an anchor, to be based out of the network’s Atlanta headquarters. Vanier anchored France 24’s flagship news talk show, France 24 Debate, and served as the network’s international affairs editor, offering his on-air analysis of major stories.

He is bilingual, able to report in both English and French.

During the Terror in Paris in 2015, he reported on CNN via telephone during Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room.

Vanier is expected, according to sources, to be on the air later this week.