Earlier this week, CNN news contributor Roland Martin announced his departure from the network, with his final day scheduled for April 6. The 44-year-old journalist is the latest media personality to be dropped under the Jeff Zucker era, which began in January.
Martin recently sat down with EBONY.com to discuss the reasons behind his exit, his opinion on the network’s highly criticized “White-out” and why his voice will not be silenced.
On his contract not being renewed…
“Well, I was actually told in December by Ken Jautz, the executive vice president [of CNN], that the contract wasnâ€™t going to be renewed. Jeff Zucker has a vision for the network and wants to see different faces and I get that. I enjoyed working there, I have a lot of colleagues that I have grown to like and respect at CNN and so the bottom line is you work in places and then you move on.
Â One of the things I always focus on is building my brand beyond one thing and so weâ€™ve been doing great with [my show on] TVOne, Washington Watch and weâ€™ve got some things coming up that are exciting that I canâ€™t announce yet that Iâ€˜m really looking forward to. And, of course, every day Iâ€™m on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and Iâ€™ve got my nationally syndicated column. So, Iâ€™m not going anywhere. My voice is not going to be silenced by anybody. Weâ€™ve got great things ahead.”
On Jeff Zucker’s lack of minority hires/reporters…
“Look, I donâ€™t know. We havenâ€™t seen the full vision [of Zucker yet]. That determination will have to be made later; itâ€™s very early in the game. Thatâ€™s pretty much all I can say to that. One of the things I always talk about is having multiple opportunities, multiple platforms and revenue streams to be able to layout your message. At CNN, I just come in when they call but I have had the advantage of having other platforms where I was able to talk to cabinet secretaries and the First Lady and the Vice President, the President and Senators. And I think that whatâ€™s most important is, Iâ€™ve always kept a foot in Black media. Iâ€™m absolutely committed to building up Black media and I think that is absolutely important in 2013 that we have strong Black cable networks, strong Black websites, magazines, and newspapers where weâ€™re able to focus on our issues and our stories and highlight our people and not necessarily wait for somebody else to do it.”
Check out Martin’s advice to fellow journalist Don Lemon, his ideas on engaging the Black community and the entire interview over at EBONY.com.