CNN Business has launched an internal investigation into the treatment of female employees

  • CNN Business has opened a “work environment assessment” to look into the treatment of female staffers.
  • The investigation was launched after the departure of a senior female editor. 
  • Two people said the assessment appears to be focused on workplace culture.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

CNN Business has opened an internal investigation into workplace culture and the treatment of female employees, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

The investigation was prompted by the February departure of Annalyn Kurtz, a senior editor in the roughly 60-person newsroom, two of the people said. CNN Business houses the cable network’s digital coverage of markets, technology, and media.

The “work environment assessment,” as the inquiry is being called internally, is being conducted by HR employees at CNN’s parent company, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, a $34 billion business including the Warner Bros. film studio, Turner Sports, and HBO. CNN’s HR and communications departments folded into WarnerMedia as part of a reorganization last year.

A CNN spokesperson declined to comment. Kurtz declined to comment.

The assessment appears to be focused on workplace culture, not the behavior of an individual, according to two of the sources.

“I’ve found there to be a lack of transparency in how to get promoted or how to appear on TV,” said one, a female staffer. “I get the feeling the company wants to keep as many people as possible at a low pay grade or stay in a certain box and that has led to women not being supported.”

CNN Business is led by General Manager Jason Farkas, who has six direct reports — three men and three women, according to a person familiar with the organizational structure. The department is a part of CNN Digital, which is run by senior vice president Meredith Artley, who reports to Andrew Morse, the chief digital officer.

At a CNN Business “ask me anything” call on April 20, Artley referred to the HR assessment, saying it was ongoing, according to a person on the call.

Formerly known as CNNMoney, CNN Business rebranded in 2018 with a greater focus on Silicon Valley and the intersection of politics, media, and tech.

The findings of the assessment — and what, if any, action CNN might take — remain unclear. In some cases, media organizations like NPR and CBS have turned to outside law firms to independently investigate serious workplace issues.

The internal review came just as former CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin — who left the network this month — discussed the environment within CNN’s television unit in a podcast interview with Ms. Magazine, saying that the most influential and powerful anchors and executives at the network are men. 

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