CNN to cease personalized Internet news service

Cutbacks continue for the online arm of Cable News Network LP, which will stop its personalized news service this month.

In an e-mail message to subscribers today, Atlanta-based CNN said it will cease operations on its personalized Internet news service, myCNN, as of July 23.

CNN urged subscribers to myCNN to set up an account with a similar service through Netscape, which will deliver CNN news.

"Please take time to visit My Netscape and personalize your Internet experience," the e-mail said. "Starting this month, we will be combining our product with My Netscape, Netscape.com's personalized service, to provide an even better experience. CNN's unmatched news coverage will still be available to you as a My Netscape user, and you'll have access to everything you need to handle your day-to-day activities."

This is the latest in a series of restructuring moves for the news network. In January, CNN announced wide-ranging reorganization plans in the wake of the AOL Time Warner Inc.merger, which included the elimination of 400 jobs, about a third from its interactive unit. As part of the restructuring, television network CNNfn and its Web site, CNNfn.com, were to merge into one unit, CNNfn. CNN, which was part of Time Warner Inc., now falls under the AOL-Time Warner umbrella, as does Netscape, which had been acquired by America Online Inc.

CNN wasn't the only news organization to cut online staff this year. In February, CNBC.com, the online affiliate of the NBC cable news network, announced it would lay off 26 employees, or about a quarter of its staff, as part of a restructuring at the parent company that would reduce overall staff by as much as 10 percent.

The CNN personalized news service was a joint venture with Oracle Corp. when it launched in June 1997. It uses an Oracle Web Application Server, Oracle ConText option and Oracle Universal Server. At the time of the launch, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said the ConText software could search databases for themes as well as words. CNN Custom News let users create their own CNN news page, incorporating subjects from 1,500 options such as national, local, world, business, sports, weather and entertainment news. It also provided a clipping service that searched for keywords.

The news agency said it will hold onto all information it obtained related to users' myCNN.com accounts in accordance with its privacy policy.

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