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Mark Mysteries & Daily Beast Micro Deal Heat

mark thompson
Thompson recognizes that he must extend audience engagement beyond the core offering by making CNN a fixture in people’s lives across more platforms. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Times
Dylan Byers
April 12, 2024

On Wednesday evening, CNN chairman and C.E.O. Mark Thompson sat down for a tête-à-tête at the Century Association—that bohemian, mahoganied Midtown social club frequented by the city’s old literary guard; myriad quasi-eminent writers, editors, and artists; and perhaps a few too many Timesmen. In strictly off-the-record remarks before his fellow Centurions, in conversation with peppy Atlantic C.E.O. Nick Thompson, Mark held forth on the rapidly changing nature of the media industry, the state of the news trade, and the challenges and opportunities facing CNN in a post-linear landscape, yada yada. 

He also relayed a charming, made-for-stage anecdote that inadvertently emphasized the duality of his position as both an affable 66-year-old legacy media veteran and unlikely digital avant-gardist. After getting the call from David Zaslav, Thompson’s story goes, he opened up Perplexity A.I. and asked, “Should Mark Thompson be the chairman and C.E.O. of CNN?” The chatbot’s lengthy response was convincing enough, and so he said yes. (It’s more charming with Mark’s British accent, I’m sure.)