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Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I guess I'm the official holiday greeter for All Things CNN this year! It is my pleasure to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Don't forget to tune into Anderson Cooper's New Year's Celebration Live in Times Square! The party begins at 11pm EDT.

Well, that's it for me this year. I'll see you in 2008! ~Sheryn

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gaze Into The Crystal Ball For 2008

Are there big changes in store for Christine Romans? Is there an engagement in Ali Velshi's future? On this week's Your $$$$$, they spoke with an expert on what we'll see in 2008.

We won't know how accurate those prediction were until the end of next year, but Ali did present someone with a ring earlier this year on Your $$$$$.


CNN has me quite curious about their plans for New Year's Day. Have you heard about the Ballot Bowl?

Sounds like the Best Political Team on TV is going to be busy.

I'm not sure that we're going to have a declared winner by the end of the day, but there's hope for a winner on January 3rd.

We've finally reached the point in the Presidential elections where the voters will actually get to do something - at least in Iowa.

Thursday night CNN will start their coverage on the Iowa Caucuses at 8pm ET from the CNN Election Center.

No details have been released, but these are the folks that are showing up in the commercials that have been running.


Mystery Journalist

This week's Mystery Journalist was Veronica De La Cruz.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What they do best...

I wanted to start with some clean-up items from early in the week: above is an interesting view from behind the anchor desk at CNN Atlanta. Rob Marciano was in the chair; directly in front of him you can see the large screen for the remote of the people he was interviewing. To the left and right of that screen are the cameras (#2 on the left), with TelePromptrs above the screen showing what is being broadcast. (It's been a few years since I was on a broadcast floor, but it looks to me that CNN utilizes the view-thru TPs set directly in front of the camera lens so that the reader is looking straight into the camera. If anyone has better info on that, please let me know.) At Rob's right elbow is his laptop, and don't you always wonder what they are checking on those?

Everybody's been joking about John King and his tendency to not wear weather-appropriate clothing... but here we have Dana Bash (in Des Moines, Iowa) asking TJ Holmes (in Atlanta) to check whether John (in Manchester, NH) has his gloves on. And getting to see that he really does.

During American Morning on Thursday, the news about Benazir Bhutto's assassination started slowly. Kiran Chetry and Rob Marciano were hosting (John Roberts was off) and the early reports were that there had been an explosion but that she was safe. Kiran was speaking with John King about the political scene when the news of her death broke. Nearly immediately they had telephone interviews with Zain Verjee and other International correspondents. And John, as you can see above, was utilizing his BlackBerry to contact sources at the White House and State Department for comment.

Throughout the past three days, CNN was constantly updating the fast-changing details of the story. By Friday night, Anderson Cooper and Peter Bergen were in Karachi to do a live broadcast. This is what CNN does better than anyone. And they are full-on with the commitment to international bureaus and to the technology that allows their reporters to get the story to us.

Which brings us to...

Where In The World...?

The week started with thoughts on politics and finishing the Christmas shopping. Dana Bash reported from Des Moines the first half of the week, including Christmas Day. John King was in Manchester on Sunday and Monday, took Christmas off, and was in NYC Wednesday to host AC360; Thursday he was the go-to guy in the NY studio from American Morning right through to 360. Meanwhile, John Roberts worked the holiday but clearly went home right afterwards, hosting AM from DC on Wednesday and then taking Thursday off. Arwa Damon reported from London all week, covering everything from post-Christmas shopping to the reaction to the Bhutto murder. Wolf Blitzer may have planned to take a few days off, since he hosted the Thursday and Friday editions of The Situation Room from New York. Nic Robertson was reporting on the Pakistan crisis from various cities in Switzerland; no indication as to why he is there. And as mentioned, Anderson Cooper and Peter Bergen were in Karachi, Pakistan on Friday, although an announced Saturday edition of 360 did not happen.

This is a clip from last year on another piece of technology: Nic Robertson's awesome cellphone:

That's a wrap for 2007... 2008 promises to start out at a gallop, with the crisis in Pakistan still at a full boil and the Iowa caucuses on Thursday. (CNN will have live coverage "all night" of the caucus results.) See you on the other side.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holidays Cut Short

Reuters posted an article this morning about the impact that this accelerated election season has had on journalists & the holidays. Below are a few excerpts that contained comments from CNN journalists past and present.

After a couple days off for Christmas, TV journalists on the campaign trail are hunkered down in Des Moines through New Year's and the Iowa caucus on Thursday.

Said Jeff Greenfield, CBS News chief political correspondent and a veteran of many presidential campaigns, "It definitely screws up many vacations."

That's something new, said CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

"In years past, you had a little breathing room," she said. "This year, you don't." For Crowley, that meant buying gift cards for loved ones this year and rushing to figure out what to do about Christmas dinner for her grown children in the few days she had at home before the holiday.

Not that anyone's complaining much. For political journalists such as Greenfield and Crowley, this is it. Greenfield said the 2008 campaign has been one of the most interesting he's ever covered.

Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images
"This one for a whole lot of reasons is right up there," he said. "We are wide open on both parties, and we are possibly going to nominate and/or elect a woman or a black or a Mormon or an Italian-American president -- none of which has ever happened. On that level alone, it's fascinating."

"Now it's pretty frenetic until the 6th of February, after Super Duper Tuesday," Crowley said. "Then it goes into hibernation while they raise money and figure out what the spring campaign will look like. There will be a lull. There's an end to this craziness in February."

There's "Christmas in Connecticut" and "Autumn in New York," but CBS News' Greenfield noted that there's no precedent for this.

"Nobody wrote a song called 'New Year's Eve in Des Moines,'" Greenfield said.


Still looking for more holiday cheer? Larry King's podcast this week features musical performances from Celine Dion, James Blunt and Angels and Airwaves.

The podcast is available for download from CNN's website or here.


Mystery Journalist

Can you name this
CNN journalist?

Let us know who you think it is and we'll reveal this journalist's identity in Sunday's post.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Breaking News and All Things CNN's Year in Review

Benazir Bhutto

If you have been watching CNN or checking out today you have heard about the breaking news in regards to the assassination of Pakistan's former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. CNN has planned special programming tonight to cover the breaking news

*Special Situation Room at 8PM EST
*Larry King Live hosted by Wolf Blitzer at 9PM EST
*Special Anderson Cooper 360 at 10PM EST
*Special Investigation Unit from Nic Robertson ~ Pakistan: Terror Central at 11PM EST

In addition we have received a press release informing us of CNN's coverage:

Throughout the day and evening on Dec. 27, CNN’s world-wide reporting includes coverage from Jim Acosta, general assignment correspondent; Peter Bergen, terrorism analyst; Arwa Damon, Baghdad bureau correspondent; Jill Dougherty, U.S. Affairs Editor; Wilf Dinnick, International correspondent; Ed Henry, White House correspondent; John King, chief national correspondent; Robin Oakley, European political editor; Keith Oppenheim, national correspondent; Nic Robertson, senior international correspondent; Richard Roth, United Nations correspondent; Barbara Starr, Pentagon correspondent; Ali Velshi, senior business correspondent and co-host of Your $$$$$; and Zain Verjee, State Department correspondent. More than a dozen CNN staff from around the world are being deployed to Pakistan to cover her death, funeral and aftermath of the assassination of Bhutto. Many will travel via the United Arab Emirates, the location of CNN’s newest newsgathering hub, and will arrive early Friday morning (ET) to support CNN’s Mohsin Naqvi, who broke the story this morning.

In addition, is offering up-to-the minute reporting and analysis with extended coverage and extensive video, live and on-demand, from the scene, the immediate aftermath and file video of Bhutto from over the years. also has created a special Hot Topic section at, which is a central resource for all of the coverage elements on the site, including the opinion editorial Bhutto penned for in November 2007. Live – - offers users access to multiple live video streams including anchored coverage of all of the latest breaking news updates and analysis, and were available coverage from CNN Radio is airing one minute special reports at the bottom of the hour. CNN Newsource will provide its affiliates access to reports.

Back in September of this year before returning from exile, Ms. Bhutto appeared on CNN Situation Room for a one on one interview with Wolf Blitzer. Reading the transcript you can understand that Ms. Bhutto understood what could happen to her once she returned to Pakistan but was will to return and stand up for freedom and democracy. To read the full interview transcript, click here.


It is that time of year again and like our sister blog All Things Anderson, it is time to do our first ever All Things CNN year in review and what a year it has been. If I added everything that happened this year with CNN and Headline News I would need a extra 365 days. This is a compiled list of some major stories and events that happened this year. So sit back and lets take a little stroll down memory lane with CNN and Headline News for the year that was 2007!


*President Gerald Ford's Funeral ~ January 3
*Rep. Nancy Pelosi becomes first female speaker of the house ~ January 4
*State of the Union Address ~ January 23


*Anna Nicole Smith Dies in Florida ~ February 9


*Lewis “Scooter” Libby found guilty of perjury ~ March 6
*Iran holds British sailors captive ~ March 23


*All Things CNN is born ~ April 4
*Don Imus under fire over racial and sexist comments ~April 6
*Dr. Sanjay Gupta Book Chasing Life is released ~ April 9
*Soledad O'Brien and Miles O’Brien co-host their final America Morning ~ April 13
*John Roberts and Kiran Chetry take over American Morning hosting duties ~April 16
*Mass shooting at Virginia Tech killing 33 ~April 16


*British girl Madeline McCann goes missing ~ May 3
*Rev. Jerry Farwell dies ~May 15
*Larry King celebrates 50 years in broadcasting in May
*Andrew Speaker cause TB scare in May
*Thomas Roberts leaves Headline News in May


*CNN turns 27 on June 1
*Democratic Debate moderated by Wolf Blitzer in New Hampshire ~June 3
*Republician Debate moderated by Wolf Blitzer in New Hampshire ~ June 5
*Duke Lacrosse lawyer resigns ~ June 15
*Prime News with Erica Hill extends to 2 hours ~ June 25
*Paris Hilton out of jail and on Larry King Live ~ June 27
*All Access Podcast celebrates 1st Anniversary in June


*Plane crash in Brazil – 200 dead ~ July 17
*Pipe burst in New York City ~ July 18
*YouTube Democratic Debate moderated by Anderson Cooper in South Carolina ~July 23
*Campbell Brown announces joining CNN ~July 23
*London/Scotland Terror Attacks ~ July
*Andrea Koppel leaves CNN in July


*Minneapolis Bridge Collapse ~August 1
*Paula Zahn has final broadcast on CNN ~ August 2
*I-Report turns 1 ~ August 2
*Miners trapped under ground in Utah ~August 6
*Earthquake in Peru ~August 16
*Christian Amanpour's series God's Warriors airs ~August 21-23
*Alberto Gonzales resigns as Attorney General ~ August 27
*Senator Larry Craig sex scandal breaks ~ August 27
*Michael Vick pleads guilty in dog fighting case ~ August 27
*Karl Rove resigns ~ August 31
*Toys from China are recalled in August
*CNN new website is uploaded in August
*Jessica Yellin joins CNN in August
*Sibilia Vargas leaves CNN in August


*General Petreaus Report about Iraq is released ~ September 10
*Anderson Cooper 360 reports live from Iraq ~ Sept 10-13
*Jack Cafferty Book - It's Getting Ugly Out There is released ~ September 10
*OJ Simpson arrested in Las Vegas ~ September 18
*Jeffrey Toobin Book - The Nine is released ~ September 18
*Thousands march for civil rights in Jena, Louisiana for the Jena 6 ~September 20
*Iran's Ahmadinejad visits America ~ September 24-25
*"Prophet" Warren Jeffs found guilty of being an accomplice to rape ~ September 25
*Benazir Bhutto sits for an interview with Wolf Blitzer ~ September 26
*Protest errupt in Burma (Myanmar) between Buddist priest and the military junta in September
*Abbie Boudreau joins CNN in September
*Gloria Borger joins CNN in September


*Olympian gold medalist Marian Jones admits taking steroids ~ October 5
*Howard Kurtz Book - Reality Show is released ~ October 9
*Cleveland school shooting ~ October 10
*Pakistan unrest – over 100 killed at rally ~ October 18
*California Wildfires ~ October 22-25
*Planet In Peril featuring Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta and Jeff Corwin debut (October 23-24)
*CNN wins Emmy for political coverage ~ October 24

*CNN goes HD in October


*Situation Room and Lou Dobbs Tonight Switch Time Slots ~ November 5
*Robin & Co. becomes Morning Express with Robin Meade on Headline News ~ November 5
*Lou Dobbs Book - Independence Day is released ~ November 6
*Democratic Debate moderated by Wolf Blitzer, John Roberts and Campbell Brown in Las Vegas ~ November 15
*YouTube Republican Debate moderated by Anderson Cooper in St. Petersberg, Florida ~ November 27
*Hostage standoff at Clinton campaign office in Manchester, New Hampshire ~ November 30
*Fareed Zakaria joins CNN in November


*Omaha mall shooting ~ December 5
*CNN Heroes with Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour aired honoring everyday heroes ~ December 6
*Colorado church shootings ~ December 9
*Baseball steroid scandal is in the news with the release of the Mitchell Report ~ December 13
*Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in Pakistan ~ December 27
*Drew Griffin wins Business & Financial Emmy in December
*Wilf Dinnick joins CNN in December

Wow what a year for CNN and Headline News and the truth of the matter is there is still 4 more days left and alot can happen in 4 days. 2007 was quiet a year and 2008 is shaping up to be an even bigger year.

I want to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous 2008!!! I will talk you next year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Presents and Ratings at a Glance

I hope Santa Claus was good to all of ATC's readers? He certainly outdid himself at my house. I struggled with something to post today (the holiday's are notoriously slow press release times), When I mentioned my dilemma to BA she sent me a great idea for a post. Here's a list of what we though some of our favorite CNN personalities needed for Christmas. If you've got a suggestion we'd love to hear it.

John King - a pair of nice warm gloves (and the sense enough to use them)
John Roberts - a helmet that's still in one piece
Jack Cafferty - Head On- as much as he rants, he must get a headache more times than not
Wolf Blitzer - dance lessons so he looks good when he visits Ellen
Veronica De La Cruz - more viral videos that she can put Ali, Rob, and JR in
Bill Schneider - a new hat (no explanation needed)
David Mattingly - proper fishing lessons or cooking lessons on how to prepare Carp
Karl Penhaul - a new CNN windbreaker- as many storms has he covered this year- he's probably in need of a replacement
Drew Griffin - a display case for all of his awards
Gloria Borger - a book deal- they always put her on with Toobin & Cafferty and Wolf always seems lost when he gets to her and can't push her book- because she doesn't have one.
Rick Sanchez - the ability to just say no to those daredevil investigative pieces.
David Gergen - a place to live in NYC so we can see him actually sitting at the roundtable discussions
Jeffery Toobin - even more snark!
Erica Hill - more dramatic pet videos
Anderson Cooper - two words....Flin Flon!!!

Since I won't be posting again until 2008 I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. ~ Phebe


Wow, with vacations, substitutions, program pre-emptions and rebroadcast programming, don’t expect much from last week or this week. Everyone is down, and this week is already lower in audience viewership. But, chin up, no one in the industry pays much attention to the ratings (other than football) and the advertisers buying ad time know what they are getting. In fact, they are probably getting a little more from the broadcast nets as the writers striking and the networks and producers refusing to budge for a settlement won’t be helping television much in the coming weeks. It should actually help cable, and the primaries should help cable news.

Let’s look at last week, and since there were so many disruptions, look at it on a time period basis. Any other way is not fair, and fairly meaningless. All programs were coded as regular programming, so it is important to look at the time period performance, not what anchor was in the chair. Everyone had ups and downs with no pattern other than viewership is not evident with any consistency on any channel.

8PM: ^
Fox News: 414,000
CNN: 178,000
MSNBC: 220,000

No surprise, everyone is down from the week before, but reruns of programming hurt, particularly when the program has a large audience to begin with as is the case with Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann. O’Reilly’s Friday program (sorry, I can’t give it the news nomenclature of broadcast, he isn’t news, he’s a topical commentator...) fell 57% from its Thursday airing – woof! COUNTDOWN was down with Keith Olbermann only being in attendance a few days and airing the year in review of his blooper segment – “Oddball.” OUT IN THE OPEN had a couple of very weak days, pulling the average down from last week. Strangely, OUT IN THE OPEN had its strongest days on Monday and Friday – most programs had average Mondays and very weak Fridays.

9PM: ^
Fox News: 287,000
CNN: 264,000
MSNBC: 134,000*

HANNITY & COLMES had a major fall off in audience from its Bill O’Reilly lead-in this week, but had a very strong performance on Tuesday – its one bright spot. The program is off over 125,000 viewers from the week before – a consequence of viewership of television being ‘way down this week. LKL did well on Monday with his interview with presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and also did well on Wednesday, but had no joy with another Christmas program on Friday. The strong nights for LKL allowed the program to be one of the few to be basically equal in its performance in comparison to the week prior. Dan Abrams being on four days over five had extremely low numbers with a disaster outing on Monday.

10PM: ^
Fox News: 293,000
CNN: 217,000
MSNBC: 192,000

GRETA didn’t have as drastic a fall off, and actually gained audience from her lead-in at 9PM on Fox News. As typical, her lowest night was Friday down 82,000 viewers from Thursday’s performance. AC360 had an odd week. Monday was its strongest night, losing very little audience from its lead-in of LKL. However, Tuesday, the 11PM repeat actually beat the 10PM first run – I’ve never seen that happen…Wednesday was back to normal with the 10PM hour topping the 11PM repeat by 100,000 viewers, but slipped substantially Thursday and had another dismal Friday. MSNBC’s high point was Friday where its “docblock” beat both GRETA and 360. MSNBC with its investigations/doc block had a very up and down week, but Friday’s #1 ranking for the time period is out of the ordinary.

So there you have it. Don’t expect much for the holidays; look for politics to hopefully bring everyone’s performance back in January. Let’s also hope the interviews Jon Klein has done saying he sees Campbell Brown improving 8PM with her start in February and targeting 360 to beat GRETA in 2008 get the support they need to do what Mr. Klein is predicting. To be fair, Rick Sanchez has done an admirable job in “holding down the fort” at 8PM. 360 will have to pour it on when viewership increases in Jan/Feb 2008 to take control of momentum in 2008 at 10PM.

See you next week – and let me know if you have any questions. And yes, the broadcast nets really fell last week too in audience delivery…it’s the holidays.

And happy holidays to all!

Ratings Guru

*4 day average applied to 5 days; Dan Abrams only airs 4 days.
^Courtesy, Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54 LIVE+SAME DAY (LS) Fast Track Nationals.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holiday Spirit

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day. I have a few clips for you tonight that are in the Christmas spirit.

The first is a report that Richard Quest did on the Radio City Music Hall's famous Rockettes. I've seen the Christmas Spectacular several times over the years and it's really quite a show and always puts me into the holiday spirit.

On Christmas Eve, Don Lemon was in the NewsRoom and had a special guest with him: his Mom. He talked about the party that he had for some of his coworkers there at CNN Headquarters.

Thanks to Cyn for helping me with the clip!

Don Lemon was back again on Christmas morning this time with Brianna Keilar and he was pointing out one of the gifts that Brianna had received.

Congratulations to Brianna Keilar and her fiance!

Later on in the day, Michael Holmes and Hala Gorani were on Your World Today and showed Richard Quest's report on finding Santa at Finnish Lapland in the Article Cirle.

And finally tonight, Happy Birthday to Candy Crowley who will be celebrating her birthday on December 26th!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays from All Things CNN!

Our family at All Things CNN would like to take a moment to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas.

We hope your holiday is filled with love, happiness, family and friends!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Larry King & Reality Show

Saturday's The StarPhoenix had an interview with CNN's Larry King. Below is an excerpt:

Larry King grins when he looks back at how broadcasting mogul Ted Turner recruited him to be on CNN.

It was back in 1985 and King was doing a radio show in Washington, D.C.

Turner had been a frequent guest. So, when a prime slot opened up on Turner's then-five-year-old Cable News Network, Turner made King a simple offer.

"Ted gave me a unique contract," King recalls as he settles into his chair inside a hotel ballroom in Pasadena, Calif. "We (agreed to) a three-year contract. But at the end of a year, if either one of us was unhappy, we could get out."

"I knew the first night that I loved the show," he says. "I had never seen CNN because CNN wasn't in Washington. We didn't have cable. But I knew I loved it right away."

Ever since then, Larry King Live has been a staple on CNN -- and the channel's most popular program.

Although Larry King Live has undergone tweaks over the years, it still follows the same basic formula. The show is repeated a couple of times each day and also airs on satellite radio.

King admits that today's obsession with celebrities has influenced his range of guests. "It's a delicate balance," he says. "And this is a dilemma for anyone in the business."

Back when Larry King Live first started, King pretty well ruled the roost in this type of talk programming. Since then, several contenders have entered the arena.

"You know something, it's really funny," King reflects. "I never thought about 'ruling the roost.' All I ever thought about my whole career, I swear to you, is going in and doing a good job."


Mystery Journalist

This week's Mystery Journalist was Howard Kurtz.

Kurtz appeared this weekend on C-SPAN2's BookTV on After Words. Kurtz was interviewed by James Warren, the Managing Editor for the Chicago Tribune, about his most recent book Reality Show. Below is the video that has been posted on C-SPAN's website.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wring out the old, ring in the new

Yes, it's that time of year... when all the media outlets give us their "Top 10" lists and "______ of the Year" choices. CNN has already started running a 2007 summary commercial: 

Airing Monday night is the documentary "Rescuing Youssif," with Sanjay Gupta and Arwa Damon taking us on the incredible journey to repair damage caused when masked men doused a 5-year-old Iraqi boy with gasoline and set him on fire. In this clip, we learn how CNN got involved when the boy's father brought his story to the Baghdad bureau:

Wednesday will see a year-end-review show focusing on the impact that iReporters had this year:

Year-End Special Explores Impact of User-Generated Content on News

CNN’s ‘iReport: Caught on Camera’ Premieres Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 8 p.m. (ET)

As 2007 comes to a close, CNN reviews the year’s most talked-about stories including the Virginia Tech tragedy, the Minneapolis bridge collapse and California’s wildfire through the eyes of its citizen journalists. “iReport: Caught on Camera” will highlight the most memorable news events of 2007 by showcasing material from iReporters – viewers and users who submit their own pictures and video of the news of the day via cell phones, cameras and other devices.

Hosted by Out in the Open’s Rick Sanchez, “iReport: Caught on Camera” will premiere on CNN/U.S. and CNN HD on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 8 p.m., and replays on Tuesday, Jan. 1, at 8 p.m. All times Eastern. The special will also air on CNN International at various times depending on location.

“It’s hard to turn away when watching a news story unfold in the raw – unfiltered and user-generated,” Sanchez said. “iReport is cutting edge and has become a meeting place where news, television and today’s technology intersect and keep us in awe.”

The one-hour special is packed with the best iReports of 2007, featuring interviews with iReporters and CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein about the year’s biggest stories including the Virginia Tech tragedy, the riots in Myanmar, the Minneapolis bridge collapse and California’s wildfires. CNN anchors and correspondents Jim Acosta, Wolf Blitzer, Matthew Chance, Heidi Collins, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, David Mattingly, Chad Myers, Nic Robertson and Ted Rowlands also add dimension to the top stories from their own reporting during the year.

With more than 73,000 submissions in 2007, CNN’s iReport exposed the world to some of the most compelling images in the news over the last year and helped establish user-generated content as a powerful and viable means of newsgathering. The special replays compelling iReports of an earthquake in Peru, an eyewitness to a suicide bombing in Afghanistan, the top political iReports with Tom Foreman, a Taser incident during a John Kerry speech, severe weather around the world and contributions from U.S. troops and their families.

On the morning of April 16, iReport created a remarkable impression when chilling cell phone video from the campus of Virginia Tech provided viewers with a first-hand look at the tragedy that claimed the lives of 32 victims. Within 24 hours of the Virginia Tech tragedy, CNN received more than 420 submissions, ranging from eyewitness accounts of the events on campus to reflective and emotional tributes to those that lost their lives. The latest submission record was set during the recent California wildfires, when iReporters shared 11,680 videos and photos.

Viewers submit iReport material through a “Send Your iReport” link at or by e-mail at Submitted material undergoes the same extensive vetting process CNN employs for all content that goes on air or online.

“iReport: Caught on Camera” will be broadcast in high definition. The executive producer is Michael Kane.
It's also award season, and one of the top ones for journalism, the duPont Awards (considered the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) were announced this week. Although no CNN reporters were named this year, they will have a representative: 
CNN's Christiane Amanpour, a former duPont awardee, will interview several of the duPont winners in the PBS special program Telling the Truth: The Best in Broadcast Journalism, premiering Jan. 28. This program, an annual feature on public television stations, will include excerpts of the winning programs and explore how journalists outsmart the blizzard of spin, the limitations of newsroom budgets, and the logistics of travel to dangerous locations. 

Where In The World...?

It was another big week in Iowa, of course: on Sunday TJ Holmes was in Des Moines and Suzanne Malveaux was in Cedar Falls. Monday, Suzanne was in Des Moines, along with Candy Crowley, who had been in DC on Sunday. Tuesday Suzanne was still in Des Moines (with the Clinton campaign) while Dana Bash was on the road with Fred Thompson. Wednesday John King was in Des Moines; Thursday he was in Indianola, Iowa. (I know; get a map!) Friday, John King and Dana Bash were both in Des Moines. Thankfully, Iowa took Saturday off...

Meanwhile, Wolf Blitzer took the whole week off, with the exception of going to Columbia, Missouri in the Election Express on Wednesday, in order to get an exclusive interview with Rudy Giuliani. Monday and Tuesday, John King hosted "The Situation Room," while Suzanne Malveaux did the honors Thursday and Friday.

Arwa Damon had a pre-recorded piece air Wednesday that was shot in New York and Philadelphia, but she added live commentary from London. Harris Whitbeck (pictured above) is currently in Baghdad.

By the way, if you have a chance, check out the political roundtable that airs during the third hour of TSR. The panel changes every day, but is usually excellent. A frequent combination (and my personal favorite) is Jeffrey Toobin, Jack Cafferty, and Gloria Borger.

That's it for me this week... have a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tony Harris

My Urban Report recently posted an interview with CNN's Tony Harris. He talks about what it takes to be a journalist and his early career.


Mystery Journalist

The Mystery Journalist clue is just a little bit different this week.

Can you name this CNN journalist?

Let us know who you think it is and we'll reveal this journalist's identity in Sunday's post.

An special treat for ATC readers

Phebe is away from her computer this morning and asked me to post this for her... As most CNN viewers know, Rick Sanchez -- host of Out in the Open weekdays at 8pm ET -- was born in Cuba. His family came to the United States when he was a young boy; they still live in Miami, while he has moved to Atlanta. Well, today we have a look at how he is bringing a little bit of Havana to his Christmas in Georgia...

"I've been working in NYC during the week to anchor Out in the Open for CNN and rushing back to spend the weekends with the family. I'm having a ball and my wife and kids have enjoyed getting to know Manhattan when they can come up during the week for visits, but we're exhausted from the travel!

"So...this year, we're going to stay in Atlanta rather than head to Miami as we usually do to join family and friends. To recreate a little bit of Havana at home, I'm going to prepare a traditional Cuba feast for Christmas Eve dinner. My wife and I are going to have a pit dug in our back yard and we'll slow roast a pig in the pit, covered by alternating layers of banana leaves and sour oranges. The process takes about 8 hours, but there's nothing as good on Earth!

"While we wait for the pork to roast we'll open presents, watch movies, and call our family in Miami to compare recipe notes! We'll serve the pork with fried plantains and yucca, black beans and rice, and a drink Cubans call "crema de vie" - it's made with rum and boiled with sweetened condensed and evaporated milk. It's served chilled, but packs a real punch!

"And for dessert? There's nothing like flan. It's a meal designed to make you wake up in the morning and then smash your bathroom scale with a two by four! Then we all go to worship at Christmas Mass. Family togetherness, great food, maybe a little extra sleep -- that's all I really need for Christmas!"

Sounds like a great (and delicious) time! We all wish Rick and his family a wonderful Christmas celebration!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Mixed Bag of CNN Goodies

CNN Newsroom anchor Heidi Collins served as emcee for the ASHP at the 42nd Annual Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas. Heidi served as emcee for the session in her role as spokesperson for National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Collins exhorted pharmacists to learn more about celiac disease and the presence of gluten in medications.

To read about the Midyear Clinical Meeting, click here.


Attention Nancy Grace Fans

According to Nancy's show page on Nancy will be returning to her show from maternity leave on Monday January 7, 2008.


Jon Klein recently had an interview with the New York Observer. A couple of things caught my eye.

*Mr. Klein suggested that Campbell Brown’s new 8 p.m. show, set to debut in February, would compete by being “more talk-oriented,” by featuring fewer “formal pieces,” and by on occasion capitalizing on Ms. Brown’s sometimes-comic sensibility towards the news, à la Comedy’s Central The Daily Show. “Jon Stewart should not corner the market on innovative uses of tape,” said Mr. Klein. “He wishes he had access to the amount of material we get in every day.”

*Under Mr. Klein’s direction, CNN documentaries have married high-profile CNN reporters with equally high-profile subjects—Christiane Amanpour and religious fundamentalism, Campbell Brown and political attack ads, Anderson Cooper and the environment. Mr. Klein said he encourages his reporters to draw conclusions in their documentaries—an upshot of which, he acknowledged, is that CNN docs increasingly “step on some vested interests, and they do respond.”

To read the entire article. Click here.


Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently had an interview with the Detroit News where he talked about growing up in Michigan and his upcoming Impact Your World - Rescuing Youssif special. It is a great read and you can read it here.

~Well that is it for me until after Christmas. I want to wish all our reader a very Merry Christmas. All the best to you and yours during the time of peace on earth to all men!!!!~ Sapphire

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A visit from the Ratings Guru

Just another average week in primetime cable news

Dec. 10-14, 2007 (if we don’t count Friday…Whew…

Let’s be realistic – cable news audiences are pretty small. Even the leader Bill O’Reilly only translates on his best days to a 2 Household Rating in the broadcast world, and that is for 2+ with a tremendous amount of audience 55+ (advertisers typically don’t want that audience…sorry). The political race as well as some news events have started to make a difference as the broadcast network news programs have had some of their highest audience levels all year in the past three weeks. Since viewers expect that kind of coverage in cable news, it really hasn’t translated directly into the cable news increases in those same last weeks – other than when an evening debate airs.

What was very interesting is that Fox News took top honors in the airing of the final Republican debate last week during the day and CNN led the next day with the Democratic debate with the same moderator. Was it a fair contest? Somewhat. For the democratic debate (Thursday), MSNBC was carrying the Major League Baseball Drug Enhancement press conference but aired the debate an hour later and came in with slightly less audience than they had with the Republican debate the day before. I know, read and go blind…but it is good that CNN beat Fox News in 2+, regardless of programming and time period competition.

I won’t give you percent increases or decreases because the prior week had so many program changes and disruptions to the regular program sked. Interestingly, ESPN’s football on Monday night is usually a factor in hurting news viewership, wasn’t last week – so much for the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Monday cable news performances were fairly good, but nothing that translates the loss of over 4 million viewers to Monday Night Football on ESPN.

So let’s look at last week:^

Fox News: 436,000
CNN: 235,000
MSNBC: 257,000

Viewers turned out all channels on Friday, hurting everyone’s week average – Christmas parties or shopping??? Billo was down -12% from the prior week as his program was the least affected by program changes. And as typical, his weakest night was Friday. OUT IN THE OPEN had a pretty up week until they hit Friday and lost almost 100,000 viewers from the previous days of last week. I can’t compare it to prior week because that week it only aired three times. COUNTDOWN on MSNBC also hit the skids on Friday, 100,000 viewers off from peak audiences on Monday and Thursday.

Fox News: 389,000
CNN: 266,000
MSNBC: 173,000*

Hannity & Colmes were up slightly from the week before, LKL was down slightly - again, repeats and program interruptions affected the performance the week prior to last week – but this past Friday night was just a ratings killer for the talk-master – his Christmas song show was anywhere from 150 to 200,000 viewers OFF of his Monday – Thursday performances. Not much love out there for Josh Groban, et all – YIKES! Even LKL’s repeat of Brad Pitt in New Orleans did extremely well on Tuesday. Dan Abrams bounced back from the week prior, but again, only airs on four days.

Fox News: 364,000
CNN: 241,000
MSNBC: 193,000

Yes, AC360 is down last week from the week before (CNN HEROES week when it only aired three times). Back for a full five days, it was the Friday performance that just killed the week average – averaging 100,000 viewers off from Monday – Thursday’s performances. People just deserted television on Friday night, but the cable news channels really suffered. And with virtually no decent lead-in from LKL’s Christmas program, 360 delivered the same audience as its lead-in, which is great, but the ratings performance was extremely sub-par (146,000 viewers – ouch...). This, unfortunately, was the night CNN decided to run the 60 Minutes piece on the endangered MOUNTAIN GORILLAS. Maybe with the promotion – and that 60 MINUTES had delivered such a huge audience the prior Sunday, viewers tuned out. The four day average without the 360 Friday program would have been 265,000 – but no one in the industry would accept eliminating a first run program from the average – it was a legit program night. MSNBC’s investigations/doc block was up over the week before, but had audience erosion with each night this past week.

And to answer an anticipated question – were the broadcast networks down over typical Friday night ratings performance too? Nope, not really. They were in repeats and certainly down from the November Sweeps – but not that much.

We’ll see you next week – and let me know if you have any questions.

*4 day average applied to 5 days; Dan Abrams only airs 4 days.
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54 LIVE + SAME DAY (LS) Fast Track Nationals.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Campbell Brown Delivers

There was a new arrival today for CNN's Campbell Brown. Below is from a People Magazine article:

CNN anchor Campbell Brown and her husband Dan Senor welcomed their first child, a boy, on Tuesday.

Eli James Senor was born at exactly 10 a.m. and weighed 8 lbs. He is named in the memory of his grandfather, James Senor.

"Eli and his mom are doing great," Dan Senor tells PEOPLE. "We are thrilled."

Brown, 39, and Senor, 36, a partner in Rosemont Capital, a private equity firm, were married in April 2006.


You can hear Wolf Blitzer on CNN Radio as the end of 2007 approaches. Below is an excerpt from the CNN Press Release:

As 2007 comes to a close, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer and CNN Radio are offering affiliates a special year-end review of the past 12 months – one minute at a time – and then in a two-hour special called “2007 Rewind.”

Hosted by Blitzer, the two-hour “2007 Rewind” takes a look at some of the biggest stories of 2007 while moving some of the stories forward into the New Year. CNN journalists including Lisa Desjardins, A.J. Hammer, Ed Henry, Amanda Moyer, Miles O'Brien, Kyra Phillips, Jim Ribble, Larry Smith, Gary Tuchman and others will contribute to the program.

The one-minute features, also anchored by Blitzer, examine the biggest stories of 2007 including such topics as the Virginia Tech shootings, the Minnesota bridge collapse, the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Barry Bonds, Michael Vick, Don Imus, Britney Spears, the California fires, drought, immigration and more.

All of the content is available in a special “Year End” section of

Monday, December 17, 2007

Iowa Caucus coverage plans announced

The Iowa Caucus is just 2 1/2 weeks away and CNN has announced its broadcast plans for January 3, 2008.

Release Date: 12/17/2007 (click here for full text)

Wolf Blitzer with Anderson Cooper, Lou Dobbs Lead Iowa Caucus Coverage on Jan. 3

CNN Unveils New Election Center in New York with Innovative Graphics Capabilities

CNN will marshal its extensive resources and political expertise for wall-to-wall coverage of the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, 2008. Lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer, along with Anderson Cooper and Lou Dobbs, will lead the network’s special coverage of the Iowa caucuses out of the new CNN Election Center in New York. Special programming will begin at 4 p.m. (ET) and run late into the night.

The CNN Election Center is the network’s new political nerve center located in CNN’s broadcast headquarters in New York. CNN’s team of statisticians and political analysts will pour over data and polling information to bring viewers the most accurate results as voters are caucusing and then as results come in.

Because of the nature of this election season – with an array of viable candidates, no incumbents running from either party and a compressed primary calendar – CNN has created a whole new way to visualize these races. The power of the network’s new election graphics will be particularly apparent on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008, for Super Tuesday as more than 20 states go to the polls to choose from among numerous candidates. The Election Center and its new graphics capabilities will be integral to CNN’s reporting during upcoming primary and caucus nights, the conventions in the summer and the general election on Nov. 4, 2008.

Throughout the day and evening on Jan. 3, CNN’s Emmy Award-winning political team will offer the latest news and thoughtful analysis. Reporting from the Election Center and from around the state of Iowa will be Dana Bash, congressional correspondent; Gloria Borger, senior political analyst; Jack Cafferty, commentator; Candy Crowley, senior political correspondent; Tom Foreman, correspondent; John King, chief national correspondent; Chris Lawrence, correspondent; Dan Lothian, Boston bureau chief; Joe Johns, correspondent; Suzanne Malveaux, White House correspondent; John Roberts, American Morning anchor; Bill Schneider, senior political analyst; Mary Snow, correspondent; Jeff Toobin, legal analyst; Jessica Yellin, congressional correspondent. CNN’s stellar group of nationally-know political contributors from both sides of the aisle will also be on hand to deliver expert analysis.

CNN’s stellar group of nationally known political contributors from both sides of the aisle, including Bill Bennett, Carl Bernstein, Donna Brazile, Amy Holmes, Roland Martin and J.C. Watts, will also be on hand to deliver expert analysis.

In addition, CNN will offer up-to-the minute reporting and analysis at and on the CNN Political Ticker at Live will have extended coverage of the results, with anchor Melissa Long co-anchoring the coverage from the Election Center New York and anchor Reggie Aqui co-anchoring from Atlanta.

CNN Radio will provide live anchored coverage of the caucuses with Lisa Desjardins anchoring from Iowa. CNN Newsource will provide its affiliates access to reports and live shots on-site from correspondent Samantha Hayes.

Also as a part of this press released, CNN announced a new segment for CNN Student News:

Each month in 2008, CNN Student News will be “Talking Democracy” by introducing an election-year topic in the show and online. From caucus to convention and primary to poll, CNN Student News will break down these election-year concepts. Teachers, parents and students can find the CNN Student News program and its curriculum materials online at and on Headline News from Monday through Friday at 4 a.m. (ET)

Jon Klein re-ups with CNN
Broadcast & Cable is reporting that Mr. Jon Klein has signed a new four-year to continue on as President of CNN/US. Here is an excerpt from Marisa Guthrie's report (click here for full text):

CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein signed a new four-year deal to remain at the helm of the TV-news operation, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Klein will continue to report to Jim Walton, president of CNN/Worldwide.

Under Klein’s stewardship, the network has seen an overhaul in various dayparts.

In 2005, Klein made the call to cancel long-running current-events hour Crossfire. Jon Stewart set off a flurry of debate about such debate shows after a heated exchange with Crossfire host Tucker Carlson during which Stewart asserted that the kind of shouting match epitomized by Crossfire amounted to “political hackery.” A few months later, in January 2005, Crossfire was axed and Carlson was out.

The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer was launched later that year and recently moved to three consecutive hours (4 p.m.-7 p.m.) to cover the primaries and caucuses. Last month, Lou Dobbs Tonight moved to 7 p.m. to accommodate the Situation Room move, and it has posted a 22% gain in viewers.

American Morning was remade earlier this year with new anchors John Roberts and Kieran Chetry, who abruptly left Fox News Channel earlier this year. But the morning show is struggling, posting an 18% decline in viewers and 36% in adults 25-54 for the month of November.

Anderson Cooper 360 was also revamped and expanded on Klein’s watch. Originally launched in 2003 as a traditional news/talk hour, it was expanded to two hours in November 2005, displacing Aaron Brown's NewsNight. And while the show is down from its high point during the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it remains one of the network’s signature shows and the recipient of much promotional muscle.

That's it for me. Have a great week! And please, if you are in the midst of the flurry of holiday preparations, take some time for yourself to enjoy a moment of peace and good cheer! Happy Holidays! ~Sheryn