Check it, Peons: Your CNN Humiliation Compartmentalized

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


To those who don't know, READ-ME was often used as a rallying cry for employees to fight perceived injustice within CNN. Someone would write an initial posting, and other employees would chime in with their opinions. This practice resulted in "The Roz Files" which I had the good sense to print out for posterity. Since leaving CNN, I have moved across the country twice but still managed to hold onto this precious document of a bygone era. It is excerpted below:

ROZ IS GONE!!!!!!!!

-I'm sure most of you know Rosalyn from the Hard News (Cafe). One of the nicest and funniest people that worked there. Well, after inquiring to find out if she had been sick this week, I was told she had been transferred...not by her choice. If there is anyone out there who feels as I do, that this is unfair treatment of a long-term, dedicated hardworking employee, make your voice heard.

-Where does one get a survey to complain about this? Who is the manager of the Hard News so I can complain directly?

-Letters are usually the most effective.

-I think a petition might be effective, and maybe easier than individual letters.

-Do we have a little too much time one our hands?????

-Funny that when someone takes a second to note when an employee and friend of long standing departs, particularly if it is against her will, there are those who complain about it (just as above.) Roz was an eclectic and warmhearted friend of many of us and her removal is just one more example of the raw deal we employees got from the new management at the cafe.

-I agree with the above statement. In this day and age when most people are just considered a number and the almighty dollar seems to have more value than human life, it is good to recognize and support co-workers who need your help. This scrooge-like writer has forgotten what it is to be human.

-All I ever heard out of her was when she would sarcastically read back what you bought and how much it cost! I'm sure she received several complaints against her for THAT.

-I know several people who complained about her in particular to the management. I have stood there several times whe she was totally indifferent to a line of people standing there while she was debating her lottery numbers.

-I second the above. I saw her ignore people all the time, and make a big deal if she had to get up out of one of those chairs to do her job. I say she should stay where they put her. Management finally got it right.

-I heard she shot a man in Reno--just to watch him die...

-Well then I guess you should feel vindicated then.

-Has anyone heard about the possibility of Starbucks buying out the Hard News?

-Haven't heard that one.

-That is SO not the subject here. Let's get back to what's important: fighting this move!

-I never met Rose, but with a name like hers...I can't understand why she'd get the boot. Lordy.

-Starbucks? Really? Would we get free lattes?

-Oh please. When's the last time we got anything for free? People: Call me ignorant, but didn't Phillips buy the arena and Hard News? Does Phillips also own Starbucks?

-I have a kitten for adoption. It makes a strange "bleep" sound though...

-Would you people get serious? This isn't a joke. Take your bleeping kittens and coffee somewhere else. Those of us committed to making a change here would appreciate it.

-I'm sorry. Let's ignore the "bleeping" kitten.

-What kind of unfeeling monster ignores a poor innocent kitten that can't even control its own bleeping...

-What kind of a kitten is it? Does it have its shots?'s a Siamese, but it's missing half it's tail. All shots accounted for...minus the "shot of love" she'll give if you adopt!

-Do kittens like Starbucks?

-Name the kitten after Roz and feed it nothing but Starbucks double espresso until the evil overloards agreee to return our beloved hashslinger!


VJ Creeganl said...

My dear Satellites Saara,

My favorite Read-Me-ALL was the year of CNN's 20th Anniversary. The halls were alive with the sound of muuussiicccc....specifically, Rod Stewart. He of the "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" was slated to perform in Phillips Arena the night of the grand par-tay, but alas, he came up with the ol' Frog in the Throat excuse.

Not ones to be thwarted so easily, PR to the's what appeared in Read-Me-ALL the night before the concert:

SLUG: CNN 20th Anniversary Concert

Rod Stewart out
Diana Ross replaces

Bummer she forgot the marjority of the words to her own songs. I think she was drunk ... on the 2 complementary drink tickets she most likely received on her way into the party.

J said...

I can't let a READ-ME-ALL post slip by without mentioning the the dark caverns of what was once lively banter among co-workers..the dark, ominous DEAD file.

I had been toying around with the idea of leaving CNN a few months before I actually cut the strings, and I thought I would amuse myself and create a fake "Goodbye" Read-Me post. Mind you, I had not actually turned in my resignation, and I never actually had plans to post this thread. This was merely for my amusement..filling in the wide expanse of downtime that came with the territory of working in the most boring department known to TV..Newsbeam. My thread basically mocked many of the weekly "Goodbye" posts that cluttered up READ-ME. First of all, I titled it "Do Not Read This", because every other goodbye post was titled something like LOOK AT THIS! READ ABOUT ME! SAY GOODBYE TO ME! I wanted to convey total disdain and apathy (then why do a post at all? Hindsight...) Second of all, I went into great detail about when I was going, where I was going, and what I was going to do (even though most of my plans were not yet solidified.) Honestly, most of the post was bogus, except for the fact that I knew I was going to leave CNN at some point. In the post, I thanked Ted Turner and Lou Waters for being close confidants. I said "G-Star-4-15-upper" was my most beloved satellite. I talked incessantly about the joy I had working in the newsroom. I added a little bit to the post each day, and read and re-read my creation often. When I would finish my daily tinkering with the thread, I saved it into a "draft" file and went about my day.

One day, I got bored with my creation and simply deleted it (or "killed" it, in READ-ME speak.) I did forget one imperitive rule of READ-ME. If you kill something, LOCK it first. If you don't, anyone with access to the Dead file can read it. Oh, did I mention that the only people with access to the Dead file were executives, managers and supervisors? Hmmm..can you see where this is going?

A few days passed by, and I received a phone call from my supervisor, Frank (could that be the most cliche supervisor's name in the world?) Frank was a gentle man, with a tiny lisp, who was always level-headed and soft-spoken. He had always been kind to me, and I actually liked him. Frank asked me to come to his office. As I obliviously walked towards Frank's dark, cramped abode, I can honestly say I had absolutely no idea what I was in for.

Frank asked me, point blank, if I was leaving CNN. I believe I studdered, mumbled and gasped all at once. Some ungodly noises came out of my mouth, like "uhhhhh mmmmm well ahhhhh ohhhhhh IIIIIII.." He cut off my rambling by saying "I was looking through the Dead file and I saw a post titled 'Do Not Read This' with your name as the author. So, of course, I read it." Now, what does one do here? Should I be embarrassed that my boss busted me with my ridiculous fake goodbye post, or should I feel like my privacy was violated? Should I ask him why the hell he has time to sift through the hundreds of thousands of deleted files on the CNN database? I believe time stood still for a moment or two, so I could gather up some sort of explanation for what I had written. I said the thread itself was a joke, however, I had planned on leaving CNN soon. He asked when, and I just said "the first week in August." And it was done. I submitted my resignation, without even knowing I was going to do it that day. No big build up, no nervous butterflies, no wind in my sails..just "Oh, yeah, I am leaving."

Frank was totally calm, and I was depressed. After four and a half years, I had imagined my resignation would be exciting. I would get all of them back for all the pain I suffered through the years, by quitting and forcing them to go on without me. Instead, I got a lesson in locking files and a handshake from a Frank.

Nothing exciting about that.

VJ Hoolia

Prompter Queen said...

Ah, Read-Me-All and the excitement of a new entry. The slow moving monitor bearing a new slug and the rather annoying bing meant that we could stop scrolling the Iowa AP at the bottom half of the screen, which was done out of sheer boredom coupled with the hope that we'd stumble upon a story about a man whose penis got stuck in a pool drain, to bear witness to that new entry. Girl Scout Cookies for Sale? The updated Hard News Cafe menu? A call for after work drinks at the Highland Tap? A plea to revolt against the latest HR iniative? No, on this particular day Richard Roth, the sweet and kind UN Reporter was asking his fellow CNN'ers for a kidney.

J said...

er, ah, um, that's s-t-u-t-t-e-r-e-d. Ssssorry!