CNN's post-Zucker era: No more "breaking news" banners

CNN’s ubiquitous “Breaking News” banner is gone, now reserved for instances of truly urgent events. Snarky on-screen captions — “Angry Trump Turns Briefing Into Propaganda Session,” for instance — are discouraged. Political shows are trying to book more conservative voices, and producers have been urged to ignore Twitter backlash from the far right and the far left.

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A month into his tenure as the new leader of CNN, Chris Licht is starting to leave his mark on the 24-hour news network he inherited in May from its prominent former president, Jeff Zucker. So far, the Licht Doctrine is a change from the Zucker days: less hype, more nuance and a redoubled effort to reach viewers of all stripes…

Under Mr. Zucker, a micromanager who dictated headlines and whispered in anchors’ ears during interviews, the network developed an “Audience of One” culture. “What Jeff Wants” was the mantra, and that often meant spectacle and drama. Mr. Licht is now tearing up that playbook with a management style notably different from his predecessor.

“I’m not here to get into the weeds of day-to-day editorial decision making,” Mr. Licht told employees on his first day. His more hands-off approach to coverage, and his sweeping pronouncements that CNN will “challenge the traditional philosophy of cable news,” have left his skeptics wishing for more specific direction from the top, not less.

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