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CNN: The Continuing Soap Opera


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22 hours ago, jase said:

What's key, imo, is that Thompson will '“act as editor-in-chief, ultimately responsible for all CNN content,” per WBD which would suggest that the new lineup could get reworked once Thompson starts in October.

 

I know the press release says that and I know it's being pointed out by observers, but I don't think it's any different than how things have worked for the last several years.  Zucker was deeply involved in all CNN content.  Licht was, too, though he may have meddled less in individual stories.  For all intents and purposes, it's not a change.

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1 hour ago, mountainave said:

I know the press release says that and I know it's being pointed out by observers, but I don't think it's any different than how things have worked for the last several years.  Zucker was deeply involved in all CNN content.  Licht was, too, though he may have meddled less in individual stories.  For all intents and purposes, it's not a change.

 

I see the 'editor-in-chief' description as a clue as to what approach Thompson could take with CNN. EICs tend to not be very hands-on (or day-to-day) when it comes to editorial decisions and the like. They're more big picture (or overall vision) folks. We shall see how things take shape starting in October.

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7 hours ago, mre29 said:

Having the new CEO be the guy who used to lead both the New York Times and the BBC actually sounds like one of the best moves yet.

 

My exact thought was “oh sh*t they actually wanna do News?” If he can lead CNN in the direction of the BBC in terms of straight forward, hard hitting reporting, no opinion, unmatched global resources and stories viewers won’t find elsewhere, CNN will survive and thrive. I hope it ends up being the best decision they’ve ever made. 

Edited by jrogo
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There's a pretty good op-ed piece that came out last week from Next TV's Alan Wolk about how Thompson's work should start with CNN.com.

 

Quote

Thompson performed a near-miraculous turnaround with the New York Times. But all of his enhancements, from games to podcasts to the oft-pilloried cooking section, sprang from the same place: the nytimes.com website and its accompanying mobile apps.

 

 

CNN’s current website is a different story. It feels very much like what I will assume it was originally designed to be, which is a marketing tool for the network.

 

 

This means that the goal of the website is not to keep viewers engaged, but rather, to get them to tune in to the TV network and subscribe to a cable provider that carries CNN if they have not already done so.

 

 

There’s so much missed opportunity there.

 

 

CNN has the opportunity to make their website competitive with the Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

 

 

That means treating the website more as a news site and less as a marketing tool, so that viewers can easily scan and read the day’s top stories along with insight and expose pieces, and then dig deeper with video should they so desire.

 

As someone who visits the website multiple times a day, I'm paying attention here.

 

Quote

The second thing you need to do, even before you make any other moves, is to get rid of the Outbrain spam links on the homepage. You know, the ones listed as “paid content” that say (and I am literally cutting and pasting here) “Men Over 40: No More Blue Pills (Watch)” and “This New Device Is Leaving Neuropathy Experts Baffled”.

 

[...]

 

Those “stories”, which appear at the bottom of every single page on the CNN website, cheapen your brand in ways the Murdochs can only dream of. 

 

 

They tell people that “nothing you read here is serious, it’s all just filler copy so that you can click on the spam links below.”

 

 

This taints your entire brand in ways no amount of affiliate marketing fees can make up for.

 

YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES! Outbrain and its ilk need to go far, far away from all serious news sites.

 

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As much of a let down Licht's tenure was, I agreed with his vision. Cable news is a cesspool of opinions and people need a source that gives them fact-based information.  The notion that because MSNBC and Fox News are winning with partisan formatting, CNN should pick a side too, is disappointing. A third, middle of the line cable option is a solid idea.  CNN as a legacy network is in a good position to accomplish that, rather than startup NewsNation.

 

I agree with Licht here (The Atlantic via The Daily Beast):

"We are not an advocacy network. And if you want to work for an advocacy network, there are other places to go,” Licht said. “You can find any flavor of advocacy in a news organization that suits your need. We are providing something different. And when the s**t hits the fan in this world, you’re not gonna have time for that advocacy anymore. You need an unbiased source of truth.”

 

And I find this line from CNN's article after his firing to be troublesome:

[Licht's] approach resulted in programs that were reminiscent of the old Headline News, with shows throwing everything but the kitchen sink at viewers. Viral trending stories and weather forecasts were weaved into show rundowns, put on par with the actual, consequential stories of the day.

 

...Under Licht, many CNN journalists simply felt restrained as they delivered the news, unsure whether stating the truth on the contentious, politically charged issues that saturate the daily news cycle might land them in hot water. 

 

...Without Licht at the helm, CNN has gone back to its roots, choosing instead to focus on the biggest stories of the day. In the last few weeks, CNN has provided viewers with critical wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump’s arraignment on federal charges in Florida, the Titan submersible tragedy, and the abandoned insurrection in Russia.

 

In summary, CNN hosts hated that they couldn't blab their opinions during political segments and they couldn't hyper focus on one story all day long. It's ironic that they say CNN is "going back to their roots" which for them is the Jeff Zucker version that caused their decline to begin with. 

Edited by MediaZone4K
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CNN This Morning moved back into the old New Day studio this morning (the one with the brick loft look), with an updated background skyline montage that still incorporates America coast to coast but is bluer and brighter. When the show launched in November, they were said to be in a temporary studio (originally for CNN+) and that a brand new studio was in the works. Guess not?

 

Yesterday

Screenshot(53248).thumb.png.9412382c5e2d3cc69d6c3460e4fc19fb.pngScreenshot(53251).thumb.png.205f753c2cdb890af2a9bbd372f8a31c.png

 

Today

Screenshot(53227).thumb.png.087ba9e0de4baa0494fa55f9341a37e2.pngScreenshot(53230).thumb.png.66ea40b22255074ea7aa80af2a5b50fd.png

 

Looks like the family photos didn't make the move with the show.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jim Sciutto signed off from CNN News Central today. Tomorrow comes the beta launch of CNN Max, which will be part of Max (formerly HBO Max).

 

Quote

CNN Max will include some of the network’s most recognizable shows, such as “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” “The Situation Room,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” and “Amanpour.” It will also feature new live programs specifically created for the streamer, including “CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta, Rahel Solomon, Amara Walker and Fredricka Whitfield” and “CNN Newsroom with Jim Sciutto.” Sciutto will lead breaking news reports as warranted in the afternoons.

 

They said on TV that CNN Max won't have commercial breaks, so I'm curious how they're going to incorporate the shows that already exist. (Will they air live but have slideshow-like content covering up the ads? Will they air later with the breaks cut out and be shorter?) Also curious how similar or different it will be from CNN+, which had shows that lasted maybe 20-40 minutes and then replayed to fill out the hour until the next show began.

 

I had a feeling Chris Licht's three-anchor broadcasts might not be long for TV. CNN This Morning is of course down to two, and it sounds like the afternoon DC edition of News Central may be joining that. Haven't heard of any changes coming to the morning NY edition yet (but could easily have missed something).

 

image.thumb.png.1d9ce2c39dddaec494197a41f42b2e03.png

 

In other post-Chris Licht news, I've noticed that the "BREAKING NEWS" tab is again being used rather liberally. Below is one example from today. This was a very good interview and I recommend everyone watch it, but book interviews generally aren't breaking.

 

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(Also, did the font on the ticker become less bold or is it just me?)

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Here's the schedule of what aired today from what I saw:

 

8am: CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield

10am: CNN Newsroom with Rahel Solomon

11am: State of the Race with Kasie Hunt (CNN International)

Noon: One World with Zain Asher and Bianna Golodryga (CNN International)

1pm: Amanpour (CNN International)

2pm: Newsroom with Jim Sciutto

3pm: Quest Means Business (CNN International)

 

And then at 4pm, it became a simulcast of CNN/U.S. with The Lead, The Situation Room, etc. (all of which also airs on CNN International).

 

So, not a ton of original content, but nice for American viewers to see more CNN International. I guess I'm curious what the logic is for a few hours of CNN Max-exclusive newscasts and not just putting the entire U.S. or International feed on there. Or maybe the simulcasts are a placeholder until they launch more original shows. They are calling it a beta product for now.

 

As for the "no commercials" promise mentioned yesterday, the Max-exclusive shows took a few short promo breaks.

 

I'm just realizing that the background behind Fredricka is CNN's D.C. studio used for Inside Politics, The Lead, etc, just with an Atlanta skyline. Rahel had the same backdrop but with NY in there. Jim Sciutto was in front of an actual window overlooking the Capitol. (I thought it was the usual flashcam-monitor setup but it's not. Just now remembering that they used to have a small set featuring part of that window there. Now it looks like just a window.)

 

Edited by Geoffrey
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29 minutes ago, Geoffrey said:

I guess I'm curious what the logic is for a few hours of CNN Max-exclusive newscasts and not just putting the entire U.S. or International feed on there. Or maybe the simulcasts are a placeholder until they launch more original shows. They are calling it a beta product for now.

 

If they could simulcast the domestic CNN, I'm sure they would. It would be the easiest and most cost-effective route. But putting the entire U.S. feed on Max would undoubtedly run afoul of their cable contracts. There's probably a percentage of their schedule they can simulcast that keeps them within the bounds of their contracts. Similar to how MSNBC's "Morning Joe" is available live on Peacock, but the rest of the MSNBC schedule isn't live DTC. 

 

As to why they don't simply simulcast the International feed, my guess is because of a concern that a full day of international news wouldn't attract a large number of American viewers. I'm not saying there isn't an audience for international news, so don't come at me thinking I hate international headlines. I'm just saying that a domestic audience is more likely to want more American headlines than international ones. 

 

CNN Max is going to have a huge uphill battle. Fox Nation has figured out its streaming business model. NBC has NBC News Now and an MSNBC hub on Peacock. So CNN's main cable rivals have already figured out the economics of this and are positioned to scale up DTC as the cable bundle continues to implode. Now CNN has to play catchup, which seems like a theme for them as of late. 

Edited by carolinanews4
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12 hours ago, carolinanews4 said:

As to why they don't simply simulcast the International feed, my guess is because of a concern that a full day of international news wouldn't attract a large number of American viewers. I'm not saying there isn't an audience for international news, so don't come at me thinking I hate international headlines. I'm just saying that a domestic audience is more likely to want more American headlines than international ones. 

 

they are almost entirely airing the CNNi feed anyway. CNNi is a shell of its former self. Most of the legacy anchors and reporters have left and its down to a few hours now. Zucker & Co really dropped the ball with CNNI and HLN. Focusing entirely on US politics have really destroyed CNN brand and IMO the other channels has been left to flounder and die and other channels have moved into their spaces. THere are loads of 24hr Streaming channels in the US that replaces what HLN used to do for decades. And CNN international has effectively been shelved and replaced with BBC and AJE.  Sad Really. I dont think this bargain basement MAX effort will help do anything help them gain any traction. Its all just sad to watch this legacy channel flounder this way. 

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11 hours ago, mouseboy33 said:

they are almost entirely airing the CNNi feed anyway. CNNi is a shell of its former self. Most of the legacy anchors and reporters have left and its down to a few hours now. Zucker & Co really dropped the ball with CNNI and HLN. Focusing entirely on US politics have really destroyed CNN brand and IMO the other channels has been left to flounder and die and other channels have moved into their spaces. THere are loads of 24hr Streaming channels in the US that replaces what HLN used to do for decades. And CNN international has effectively been shelved and replaced with BBC and AJE.  Sad Really. I dont think this bargain basement MAX effort will help do anything help them gain any traction. Its all just sad to watch this legacy channel flounder this way. 

 And sadly with bean counter Zaslov in charge it’s highly unlikely that CNNi will be able to recapture any of its former glory 

 

the gutting of HLN is the most bizarre to me as you could easily make a low cost operation with repeated or repeating news on rotation. Total failure of corporate leadership and lack of vision. 
 

Sometimes I really wonder how different things would be of Ted had never sold to TimeWarner 

Edited by atlnews2
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm pretty sure CNN used the new show titles in TV listings and on the gray box below the CNN bug/on the ticker last week, but last night was apparently the official debut of the new 10pm and 11pm primetime shows.

 

CNN NewsNight with Abby Philip (logo gives me serious NewsNight with Aaron Brown vibes)

https://www.instagram.com/p/CyfK5T2ONwF/?img_index=1

 

Laura Coates Live

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

As mentioned above, CNN's new Saturday morning premiered today.

 

First of All - Victor Blackwell says he wants to add more context to stories and showcase voices and places people are not familiar with. Interestingly, the desk says CNN Center on it, even though I don't think the new location is called that. (I think this set is mostly used for CNN International, right?)

 

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After the longtime Smerconish, it's The Chris Wallace Show. The setup reminded me of The McLaughlin Group (Wallace actually said something like: I hate to play John McLaughlin here but you're right, you're wrong!). I'm just not sure the mix of a pretaped show with Chris Wallace, who seems pretty old and has a strong accent, is formula for success but we'll see.

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And then there was The Amanpour Hour, also not live, and of course with an international focus. The music seems to keep the signature from her "Amanpour" show and the open has some elements of the design as well. One of the more interesting parts to me was "The Amanpour Archive," when they played a few minutes from a documentary Christiane Amanpour did for CNN in 2007 (which was relevant to today's Israel-Hamas war), followed by a clip from an interview she did in 1996. But otherwise, putting a two-hour block of taped programming every Saturday morning in this age of war of never-ending political news seems like an odd choice to me.

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25 minutes ago, Geoffrey said:

As mentioned above, CNN's new Saturday morning premiered today.

 

First of All - Victor Blackwell says he wants to add more context to stories and showcase voices and places people are not familiar with. Interestingly, the desk says CNN Center on it, even though I don't think the new location is called that. (I think this set is mostly used for CNN International, right?)

 

image.thumb.png.51f2c06dc6f0dc139dfb859fec283793.png

image.thumb.png.8f86a28ae3a00e92fd6f3f08bf1b0af8.png

image.thumb.png.03774ce2337a7cc53502a22c7d24c327.png

 

After the longtime Smerconish, it's The Chris Wallace Show. The setup reminded me of The McLaughlin Group (Wallace actually said something like: I hate to play John McLaughlin here but you're right, you're wrong!). I'm just not sure the mix of a pretaped show with Chris Wallace, who seems pretty old and has a strong accent, is formula for success but we'll see.

image.thumb.png.00847faca5211b9123999d11f0cbf108.png

image.thumb.png.64113c79506f2e0b175bf8e73ac7a696.png

image.thumb.png.03be9e1c6187cd677cf5da9ee54f7b8a.png

 

And then there was The Amanpour Hour, also not live, and of course with an international focus. The music seems to keep the signature from her "Amanpour" show and the open has some elements of the design as well. One of the more interesting parts to me was "The Amanpour Archive," when they played a few minutes from a documentary Christiane Amanpour did for CNN in 2007 (which was relevant to today's Israel-Hamas war), followed by a clip from an interview she did in 1996. But otherwise, putting a two-hour block of taped programming every Saturday morning in this age of war of never-ending political news seems like an odd choice to me.

image.thumb.png.a8c482dbe9a3dcaa6cda74be4fe6bb11.png

image.thumb.png.a6e79669c8ca7a9c8a5427013883e9bc.png

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image.thumb.png.046b521d7c327463b524e6e7f1462b64.png

 

WHO DESIGNED THESE? This is SOOO much better then The Source and NewsNight's graphics, and those are weekday PRIMETIME shows!

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