Some 600 staffers offered buyouts at Turner Broadcasting - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Some 600 staffers offered buyouts at Turner Broadcasting

ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Thousands of employees received a memo on Tuesday regarding their future with Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta.

Some 600 employees have been offered buyouts and this is only the beginning of some significant cuts that are on the way.

For more than 20 years, Bobbie Battista was one of the faces of CNN. Now, she watches the changes at the network unfold right before her eyes while working for Georgia Public Broadcasting.

"It's a different company than it used to be, and I think that's sad for a lot of the folks that were there from the beginning that helped build it and helped establish credibility," Battista said.

Turner executives sent their staff of 6,500 employees in Atlanta a memo offering buyouts to those that are at least age 55 and have 10 or more years of service.

The memo went on to say there would be additional reductions in staffing.

"Now you're looking at a company that is completely different and is slowly being dismantled, rebranded, [and] reborn in so many different ways and maybe some of that will be good," said Battista.

Battista isn't the only one that remembers the good old days. Gail Evans is a former executive and New York Times best-selling author that is troubled by the changes.

"I think it's a very sad day for Atlanta because Turner Broadcasting and all that it stands for is very fundamental to Atlanta becoming a big city," Evans said.

Evans believes the changes are motivated by something other than soft ratings and stiff competition.

"Well, my bet is the big push is about the Rupert Murdock, FOX push to take over Time Warner. It seems like Rupert Murdock is lurking in the background saying the stock prices need to go up."

Some city leaders believe the short-term impact of layoffs will be a blow to the local economy and cost the city millions of dollars. Something Battista said Ted Turner would not have wanted.

"Thank God he's alive and well, but if he weren't, he'd be spinning in his grave about what happened to CNN."

CBS46 News also spoke with Atlanta city councilman Kwanza Hall who served the area surrounding the CNN Center for more than a decade.

Hall said that the city has to support those that lose their jobs and encourage them to start the next generation of CNN in this digital economy.

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