CNN staffers fear layoffs as network inks deal with the Associated Press

CNN staffers fear a new deal with the Associated Press may spell layoffs at the third-place cable news network.

CNN inked a deal with the Associated Press to use its copy on its website, the first time it has done so since cutting ties with the wire service 14 years ago.

But the deal is sparking concerns among staffers of further job cuts at the struggling cable news network, according to Puck, which first reported the news. The fears come as CNN boss Mark Thompson is sharpening his strategic vision to turn the network around.

CNN canceled its contract with the AP in 2010 in order to focus more on original reporting and expanding its own global news coverage.

CNN boss Mark Thompson inked a deal for his network with the AP, which sparked concerns of job cuts at the company. Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery

A CNN spokeswoman denied that the new deal with the AP signified job cuts were on the way.

“This allows our journalists to spend more time on enterprise reporting and less time on quick stories across platforms,” the rep said. “The goal is to enhance our editorial reach while allowing us to focus on key editorial priorities.”

But Thompson hinted in April that more cost-cutting measures are in the offing, saying there are “likely to be significant opportunities for de-duplication of parallel organizations and structures and activities.”

“I think we can and should be looking for ways of doing what we do both better, but also doing it less expensively,” Thompson said at the time.

He also said the network faces an “existential crisis” as it deals with cord-cutting and the shrinking cable TV business.

CNN cut ties with the AP in 2010, citing the desire to build out its own original reporting. AP

The ex-BBC director general and former New York Times CEO has a tall task: turning around CNN, which has struggled to keep up in the ratings with Fox News and MSNBC.

Thompson publicly laid out a plan to advertisers in May that centered on CNN’s verticals, which has been described by insiders as a revision of the plan launched by former CNN boss Jeff Zucker seven years ago, in which the network launched culture- and lifestyle-focused digital verticals and tiered subscription offerings built around network personalities.

“There are plenty of things we have to fix at CNN,” Thompson said last month.

The struggling news network continues to struggle in the ratings, as Thompson looks to revamp the company with a focus on digital. Getty Images

His comments followed a somewhat convoluted blueprint from the exec on how CNN would become a more modern media company.

He unfurled a five-point plan on March 1 that included vague bullet-point items: “Building our digital future,” “A global integrated multimedia news operation,” “Future-proofing TV production,” “Developing new sources of revenue” and “Communication and culture.”

Meanwhile, CNN hit a milestone of sorts during the week of May 13 when it suffered its worst ratings among primetime viewers in the most coveted demographic by advertisers since 1991.