CNN’s John Harwood announces departure amid programming rethink at news network

CNN White House correspondent John Harwood announced on Friday that he was leaving the news network, which is in the midst of a rethink of its programming strategy under a new Warner Bros Discovery leadership team.

Harwood, whose career has included stints at CNBC, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, is the second high-profile journalist to depart CNN in recent weeks. Last month media critic Brian Stelter exited after the network’s new chief executive, Chris Licht, cancelled his show Reliable Sources.

Warner Bros Discovery was formed when Discovery acquired CNN parent WarnerMedia in April. Changes at the network came quickly: David Zaslav, chief executive, shut down streaming platform CNN Plus just weeks after its launch.

Questions about how Warner Bros Discovery would handle CNN have swirled since cable television pioneer John Malone, a big shareholder in the company and a political conservative, offered a critique of the network’s journalism last year.

“I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing,” Malone told CNBC in November.

Later, Zaslav told investors he was “fully committed” to CNN, but noted that it should not be an “advocacy network”.

“CNN is in the business of journalism first, and that’s what we’re going to fight for,” he said.

Harwood joined CNN in 2020 from CNBC, and has been a frequent critic of former US president Donald Trump, who he called a “dishonest demagogue” in a report on Thursday night.

In a tweet on Friday, the 65-year-old Harwood said “today is my last day at CNN” and added that he looked “forward to figuring out what’s next”.

Company officials have said CNN will shift away from opinion programming and towards more straight news.

CNN declined to comment on Harwood’s departure. “We appreciate John’s work covering the White House, and we wish him all the best,” it said in a statement.

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