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I was recruited into a newly-formed emerging products and platforms unit at CNN, tasked with creating unique direct-to-consumer products for the company. Sitting within Product, I led the 5-person Community and Interaction team, and owned community management and moderation of interactive products within CNN.

Serving as the the primary ambassador for our community efforts to the wider CNN teams, I collaborated across the organization with Content, Design, Engineering, Fraud, Legal, Research, Standards and Practices, PR, and other teams.

These interactive products inevitably revolved around connection between and with those who engaged with CNN’s content the most: Regular viewers and loyal fans. This represented a shift for an organization that had long ago shipped all user-generated content off of CNN-hosted platforms and onto third party social media sites.

Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube owned the relationships and the data. This often meant that those companies came between CNN and the organization’s most ardent supporters, deciding if, when, and where CNN could connect with them. But we were building toward something different.

Interview Club, which later became part of CNN+, was intended to be the first of many product experiences.

Unfortunately, following the WarnerMedia merger with Discovery, the new company laid off a substantial portion of the workforce. I was among a group of employees that were asked to stay. But as news of cuts came down 12 hours after my wife had given birth to our first child, I opted to accept a severance package and exit to company.