NABJ Concerned Over CNN Cuts

By Chris Ariens 

DariusWalkerCNNA week after the National Association of Black Journalists expressed its concern “about the atmosphere for African Americans at CNN,” the network has laid off one of its highest-profile black executives.

Darius Walker, (right) an 18-year CNN veteran, is among the hundreds of employees cut as the network trims its workforce. Walker was a VP and the Northeast Bureau Chief based in New York.

NABJ president Bob Butler said its examination, even before the cuts, found “only two African American executive producers” at CNN.

“I’m shaking my head,” Butler told us by phone Tuesday, saying he’s heard from several NABJ members who were among the 170 laid off.

“When you talk to people there, we hear, ‘yeah, we’ve hired your members.’ But it’s about more than that. It’s about them getting some kind of meaningful job and getting promoted.”

Butler expressed his concerns during a meeting with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker last year. He says he’ll continue to press the NABJ case at CNN and other news networks.

“I find it hard to believe that in 2014 that this network, or any other network, can’t find qualified candidates of color. I find it hard to believe. That’s an excuse.”