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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hello, Goodbye

In today's post:

Another CNN correspondent is on the way out the door.

Anne Schroeder from reports that CNN's blog and internet correspondent Jacki Schechner's contract (as of Friday) has not been renewed.

If you're interested in how she got started being an internet correspondent, she did an audio podcast interview with The podcast is available for download here. (You'll need to have either iTunes or QuickTime Player to listen to the podcast.)


CNN's Reliable Sources anchor and Washington Post Staff Writer, Howard Kurtz, interviewed Campbell Brown for an article that he wrote for the Monday's Washington Post. Below are excerpts from the interview:

"Am I nuts?"

Campbell Brown raises the question herself, nursing a Diet Coke -- she's only allowed one a day because of her pregnancy -- at the Mayflower bar.

She has just quit NBC, where she tasted the fruits of fame as a weekend morning host and "Nightly News" backup, to launch a prime-time talk show for CNN. "I know how risky it is. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't scary. But it's also exhilarating, and I miss that feeling."

The arena remains dominated by white men. Other women fronting prime-time cable shows, such as Deborah Norville and Rita Cosby, have come and gone. Barred by her NBC contract from starting until Nov. 1, Brown will be eight months pregnant when she begins the show.

"I'm going to be waddling onto the set," she says. "If people have a problem with women in these jobs, I'll be getting a rude awakening."

The daughter of a former Louisiana secretary of state who spent six months in jail for lying to an FBI investigator -- he was caught up in a broader scandal involving former governor Edwin Edwards -- Brown has a Cajun's spicy approach to life. Friends say she plays as hard as she works.

At 16, Brown was kicked out of the Madeira School in McLean for sneaking off campus to go to a party (which hasn't stopped school officials from constantly inviting her as a speaker). She was a self-described Colorado ski bum while in college, taught English in Czechoslovakia (where she acquired a banana tattoo on her ankle), and worked as an intern at Washington's NewsChannel8 and Montgomery Cable.

After that, the best that Brown could do was a $6-an-hour reporting job at the NBC station in Topeka, Kan. She moved up to the NBC station in Richmond, but "I could not for the life of me get a job in D.C.," Brown says. She finally made it to Baltimore's WBAL and did some freelancing for Washington's WRC before landing a job with NBC's affiliate service, churning out reports for local stations.

Brown's break came in 1998 when she was detailed to MSNBC, covering politics for Brian Williams's cable newscast. As for the broadcast side, she was a young woman in a hurry. "I could not get on 'Nightly News' to save my life," she grouses.

Brown, in a Vera Wang dress, and Senor

Photo by: Denis Reggie


In 2003 Brown packed her bags for New York. She had been tapped as co-host of "Weekend Today" and eventually became Williams's primary substitute on NBC's nightly newscast.

During a reporting trip to Iraq in 2004, Brown found herself at odds with Dan Senor, the spokesman for the U.S. civilian authority. "I wanted access and he didn't want me to have access," she recalls. "We just butted heads a lot."

Back home, she watched Senor's televised news conferences and told friends he was cute. Brown invited him to dinner to discuss foreign policy, and Brokaw somehow got included. That prompted a distress call to Brown's best friend, Washington reporter Anne Kornblut.

"She asked me to come to New York," says Kornblut, now with The Washington Post. "She said, 'I need someone to distract Brokaw so I can flirt with Dan.' "

It must have worked; the two tied the knot a year later, in what was Brown's second marriage. Senor now works at an investment fund and is a Fox News commentator. "These are two very ambitious, high-profile people," Dickerson says.


And finally tonight, this update on Soledad O'Brien from USA Weekend.

What happened to Soledad O'Brien, who co-anchored CNN's "American Morning?"

Cheryl Clark, Southfield, Mich.

She still works for CNN. O'Brien, 40, has been anchoring CNN specials, like the presidential forum on faith and values last month, and is working on documentaries, including "Children of the Storm," to air through the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. She tells us she enjoys waking up later, and she added yoga to her still-hectic schedule.

Thanks to Blade for the tip!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Jack Caffer...tea or me?

Hi Everyone!

I grew up in the tri-state area where Jack Cafferty, Sue Simmons and the Live At Five team (NBC-NY) were "Must See TV" in my house. I proudly admit that I crushed on Mr. Cafferty, big time! Nowadays, I am thrilled to watch Jack on The Situation Room every night at 5pm! His blunt opinions about the policy makers of this country are refreshing, to say the least.

With that in mind, I decided to write a post about Mr. Cafferty's days at Live At Five. One Google search provided me with a great clip to share with you! The Gothamist was recently futzing around YouTube and found a segment that Jack did with David Letterman on Live At Five where each show simultaneously appeared on the other's for Letterman's anniversary (circa 1989).

Here is the clip and an excerpt from the article. Click here to read the full text.

Letterman on Live at Five/Live at Five on Letterman

While poking around on YouTube recently we stumbled onto this awesome clip from 1989 of David Letterman appearing on Live at Five and Live at Five simultaneously appearing on Late Night With David Letterman. In it, we see Letterman, whose studio 6A is just across the hall from WNBC's Live at Five's studio 6B, being interviewed by Jack Cafferty (and vice versa) on the occasion of a prime time anniversary show. Late Night taped its show every afternoon as Live at Five broadcast live, and Letterman on occasion popped in on Live at Five and was noted for complaining that WNBC's newscast got better guests then he did.

There are some gems, other than seeing what Sue Simmons and Al Roker looked like in 1989, such as a Top Ten List of Rejected Promotional Slogans for Live at Five, and Paul Shaffer and the band doing a cover version of the Live at Five theme.

If you live in the New York area please note that Sue Simmons will be interviewing Jack Cafferty at the 92Y in January 2008. Now I would pay good money to see that live! Here's the link.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this trip in the WAY-BACK Machine! LOL! I'll see you in two weeks! ~Sheryn

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Mystery Journalist is...

Mystery Journalist

This week's Mystery Journalist: CNN terrorism analyst, Peter Bergen

How did you do this week? I'll post another Mystery Journalist clue in Friday's post.


In January 2006, Peter Bergen released his book “The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al-Qaeda’s Leader.” Washington Life, December 2005 issue included an interview with Bergen by The Washington Post reporter N.C. Aizenman. Below is an excerpt from that interview:

NCA: Instead of writing a biography of bin Laden, you have woven together first person accounts from a wide array of people who knew bin Laden personally to create an oral history. Why did you choose to present the material this way?

Photo by Scott Wallace
PB: A tsunami of nonsense has been written about bin Laden. Rather than relying on secondhand accounts, I thought people should be given the chance to form their own conclusions based on firsthand accounts from bin Laden’s brothers, his high school buddies, his university classmates and his companions in arms. There were two guiding principles to the book: The first was that we only hear from people who know bin Laden personally. The second was that we hear from them directly—with a little bit of setting up from me, of course—but basically in their own words. I was influenced by a book about Edie Sedgwick, a 1960’s supermodel who became a sort of Andy Warhol superstar. The book was by George Plimpton and edited by Jean Stein, and it always struck me as a very good account of what was going on in New York in the ’60s. Obviously bin Laden and al-Qaeda are a rather more serious and more complicated subject. However, I thought that using direct testimony from people who know bin Laden is perhaps a way of similarly recapturing some worlds that most people don’t have much experience in.

NCA: What impact do you think it would have if he were caught? And would the circumstances of his capture make a difference?

PB: If he were caught it would be a psychological victory for our side and it would be a psychological blow to theirs—particularly if he were captured and given some of the Saddam Hussein treatment. But, I don’t think he will be caught. He said he is willing to die and I take him at face value.

Juliana Silva and Peter Bergen

Appeared in: 62nd annual Washington press club dinner CQ putting on The Ritz after - party on March 2006

NCA: If he is killed rather than caught what would be the impact?

PB: In death I think he would be perhaps an even more important figure than in life. He would certainly be an important martyr for this movement. By the way, when you were there, were there any indications that bin Laden was in Afghanistan?

NCA: You already knew a lot about bin Laden before putting this book together. As you conducted interviews and gathered material, was there anything that surprised you?

PB: Mostly lots of little things. The guy is a sort of a closet Larry King fan, apparently. He watches a fair amount of CNN and BBC, and is a news junkie. He is a big horse rider. He has a thing about growing sunflowers and was very excited that his sunflowers are bigger than the sunflowers that grow in the United States. He has been telling people that even in sunflowers, he was beating the United States. For a billionaire’s son, he’s always been very ascetic. He has rejected all American products for a long time. He doesn’t drink Pepsi, Coke, or Sprite. Even when he had lots of money, he didn’t have a fancy car or air conditioning and he slept on the floor. He also forced his kids and his wives to live the same way. When he was a free man he taught his wives to shoot. He won’t let his children drink cold water because he wants them hardened for jihad. His oldest son Abdullah, who is now back in Saudi Arabia, essentially left him in the mid-1990s when the family was living in Sudan, saying, “Look, now there are millions in the bank. Why are we living like peasants?”

NCA: After all your research, do you feel any closer to truly understanding this man?

PB: The more you know about a person, the more puzzling they can sometimes seem. And I am sure that one of the things people will say in criticizing the book is that I am humanizing the guy. But, the last time I checked, the people who attacked us on 9/11 were not robots, they were human. Their boss is a human and I thought it was important to try to understand him more.

Thanks to Cyn for reminding me that I had found this interview and pictures!

A Little Something To Lighten Up Your Day

Hey everyone. Hope you are having a great weekend! I was just surfing the net, YouTube to be specific and I came across a really cute video of Amy Poelher of Saturday Night Live doing Headline News Nancy Grace. It is really quite funny. I am not sure of the exact date but it had to have happened after the whole Michael Richards ordeal. Hope you all get a chuckle out of it and stay tuned to see if you guess our mystery journalist correctly!

Courtesy: NBC

Friday, July 27, 2007

Koppel Leaving & Yes, More YouTube

In today's post:

Andrea Koppel

CNN is losing another veteran correspondent.

Congressional correspondent, Andrea Koppel, will be leaving CNN at the end of this month. She's been with CNN since 1993.

From TVNewser, Koppel's note about her departure:

Dear friends and colleagues: As some of you may have heard by now, CNN and I were unable to reach agreement on a new contract and, as a result, I'll be leaving the company at the end of the month. I want to thank David Bohrman and Jon Klein, especially, for their understanding, encouragement and support. With their leadership I know CNN will continue to be the world's news leader. I will be forever grateful to CNN and to people like Eason Jordan, Tom Johnson and the now deceased Ed Turner for giving a cub reporter her big break back in 1993. Finally, I can't leave without thanking all of you -- my talented, hard working and passionate colleagues in DC, Atlanta and NY as well as in CNN's many bureaus around the world. You are the best of the best and I hope our paths will cross again down the road .... Andrea Koppel


More YouTube Debate

Did you miss all or part of the YouTube Debate with the Democratic candidates on Monday night? Well, don't fret! There are plenty of opportunities for you to still see the debate either in part or in its entirety.

First, CNN is scheduled to rebroadcast the debate on Saturday, July 28th & 29th at 9 pm EST.

Can't wait? CNN has posted the debate on their website. You have the option of watching the debate online or downloading it to watch on your iPod or PC.

Have you been to CNN's Election Center 2008 on their website?


Casual Friday

On Monday's American Morning, John Roberts was reporting on the YouTube moments that have already been created during the 2008 campaign, when he got caught up in a moment of his own...

I'm not sure how many times I've ended up watching this clip this past week, but it makes me laugh every time!

To see the full YouTube video by massmediakid featured in the clip- a link is available here.


Mystery Journalist

Can you name this CNN journalist?

Please feel free to let us know who you think this journalist is in the comments. The identity of the Mystery Journalist will be revealed in Sunday night's post.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Paula Zahn To Officially Leave CNN

On July 24, Paula Zahn officially announced she will be leaving CNN, turning her prime-time slot over to Campbell Brown. Paula’s final program will be Thursday August 2. Others CNN reporters will fill in until November, when Brown — newly hired from NBC News will start, CNN said Tuesday.

Paula Zahn has been a member of the CNN team for nearly six years since jumping from Fox News Channel — her first day on the job was September 11, 2001. co-anchoring coverage of the 9/11 attacks with another new hire at the time, Aaron Brown. Later that fall, Zahn began hosting American Morning. In September 2003, Paula began Paula Zahn Now

I found this video on YouTube with some clips of Paula on her first day. I will forewarn you that there is some language and images that might not want to be viewed by everyone. Nothing extreme but I know a lot of people still have a hard time watching clips from September 11th, I know I do.

Courtesy: chrisbornag

Although her ratings are up this year, Paula has had a tough time competing in a time slot dominated by Bill O'Reilly on Fox News Channel and Keith Olbermann at MSNBC. Rumors have spread for months that CNN was looking to make a change. "As all of the stories were being written, (CNN U.S. President) Jon Klein and I were talking very amicably about where we both wanted to go," Paula told The Associated Press. "You're not going to survive very long in this business if you internalize every rumor that is out there. To a certain extent, my staff and I were able to drown out the noise and do what we were expected to do." She and veteran executive producer Victor Neufeld had found a niche in recent months reporting extensively on issues of race relations, and Zahn said she was proud of that work. CNN had several times changed the focus of Zahn's show looking for something to catch on, including a focus on politics and emphasis on longer-form stories. "We are grateful for her dedication, professionalism and class over the last six years," Klein said.

The following is the statement that Paula released to her co-workers at CNN,
To All,
It is with mixed emotions that I announce my departure from CNN, effective Thursday, August 2nd. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my tremendous respect for my good friends and colleagues, their talent and high standards. It's been an extraordinary journey since my first day on the job, September 11th, 2001. During my 6 years with CNN, we've covered the war in Iraq, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the death of a Pope and the massacre at Virginia Tech. I am enormously proud of the work we've done covering these stories as a team. Now is the right time for CNN and me to move ahead on different paths. I wish good luck and success to everyone I was fortunate to work with. And for the first time in 30 years, I plan to take a break between jobs and catch my breath before I take on my next role.
- Paula

She said she expects to stay in television after taking some time off. "For the first time in 30 years, I'm going to take a break here," said Zahn, 51. Hopefully Paula will get to spend some time with her three kids Haley, Jared, and Austin.

All of us at All Things CNN want to thank Paula for all her hard work and dedication to bring forth hard hitting news with truth and compassion for the last six years and we want to wish her all the best in all her future endeavours!!! Hopefully we will be able to get Paula’s goodbye next week uploaded.

CNN's Ratings Debate

After reading how several major news blogs were interpreting ratings from Monday's CNN Democratic Debate we asked a guest blogger to give us their interpertation. Since we received this article TV Newser has pulled their inaccurate story and Inside Cable News has also retracted part of its feature, saying it's source was TV Newser. But we would still like to give our readers a fair and balanced look at those debate ratings, at least from our point of view.

Matthew Rond for CNN© 2007. A Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s RATINGS DEBATE – Are its releases fair about their Debate ratings or is the Media right about the ratings performance?

Television Ratings can be a tricky business, because like all statistics, you can manipulate ratings within time periods and what we call “dayparts” in television with the Nielsen overnights to try to skew audience ratings to the advantage to a particular network or channel (no, don’t get me started on the difference between a network or channel, there is a difference).

However, you would hope, during a non “sweeps” period, with a new format designed to engage Americans that CNN would not only be bold enough to try the YouTube Presidential Debate Format, but also detail fair, overnight ratings information as well so that the media could analyze not only from a programming perspective, but from a ratings perspective, was the initiative a success.

There are many determinations one must take into consideration when you look at ratings information from a press release. Does it give all demographic breakouts that television executives recognize – Total Audience (2+), Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18+. In many instances, information is also given also for those same “demos” separately in Men and Women.

Competition in the time period is examined. HUT Levels (Homes Using Television) – simply put the amount of sets turned on during a time period or daypart – I’m not going to get too complicated here. PVT Levels (People Viewing Television) – again in simple terms the amount of people in a demographic watching at a particular time period. Time of year – the aforementioned fluctuate greatly, thus affecting ratings. Time of day – the aforementioned fluctuate greatly. The amount of promotion, advertising and the target audience appeal all can affect the total audience rating. That is why some programs skew 50+ and have a very high Household rating (television does quite well with older viewers on average). Some programs have a much smaller Household rating, but if you look at its demographic ratings, they can be quite impressive as they reach younger viewers which can be quite hard to do in television – younger viewers just don’t watch a lot of television – they are elusive and hard to reach.

This is what CNN was trying to convey in its press release. While its overall viewership was down in comparison to the June, 2007 debate, they were able to attract young viewers, the so-called “disenfranchised” who don’t vote. And, there is much to take into consideration about the rest of its ratings performance, just from a superficial standpoint.

•Early June HUT Levels are higher than late July.
•Sunday HUT Levels and Viewership levels are higher than Monday. In fact Monday is one of the lowest viewership and HUT level nights of the week, other than Friday and Saturday.
•The decreases in audiences – 2+*, 25-54* and 18-49* can be attributed to these fluctuations in HUT levels, competition in the time period, the weakness of Monday versus Sunday, the summer run versus the other fall runs, the earliness of the “debate” with several candidates versus the much later dates for ALL the higher rated debates. YouTube Debate in the Nielsen Ranking ranked 9th in 18-34 year olds with 407,000 from a ranking that was published today (July 25, 2007) in TV Newser/Inside Cable News.
•Airing at 7PM versus all other debates airing at 9PM is a very unfair comparison, particularly summer versus fall. Audience levels are at their highest at around 9:15PM. At 7PM, even on the East coast, they are barely at primetime strength, and then add in the West coast being compiled at a 4PM Hut Level. All other debates ahead of YouTube aired at 9PM, East Coast Time - makes a huge difference in television ratings.
•Now, the gain of Adults 18-34 press release that got so hammered - to gain 10%* in Adults 18-34, that is no easy feat with all of the above, and the fact that it is one of the most fickle, elusive, difficult audiences to attract – particularly on a news channel. Going against all of the odds above that is a plus and no statistical error.
•It does happen sometimes in television that when you put a television program on that appeals more to the 18-34 demographic, you can lose 18+ audience overall - that is the way of television - the older demos sometimes just don't think it's a program for them so they tune out. There are any number of reasons why the 18+ and 25-54 declined. Unless I see the raw data and HUT/PVT levels, it is hard to make a true educated guess. And let's face it, CNN promoted it as a "YouTube" experience. Perhaps some 18+ didn't feel it was for them; or it's a looonng debate season.
•In all cases, all debates that rated higher than the You Tube Debate, I would consider “Final” debates as they aired in the closing weeks of the campaign coming up to the Presidential election Vote either in 2000 (1) or 2004 (7) – all very unfair comparisons – there was much more voter interest.

* I can only use the ratings available on the websites and don’t know if they are final numbers that include Nielsen DVR compilations – thus the final actuals. Nielsen had no DVR additions in 2004 or in 2000.
CNN Audience Actual Audience Performance as lifted from websites, courtesy of Nielsen Media Research:

July 23, 2007:

2+: 2,552,000
25-54: 831,000
18-49: 663,000
18-34: 407,000

June 3, 2007:

2+: 2,714,000
25-54: 1,050,000
18-49: 836,000
18-34: 368,000

Now we can debate rating research all day long since I don’t have access to CNN’s research and how they derived their numbers for release. But just on the surface anyone with a strong television ratings research background can see the unfairness of these websites. They don’t have the skill to analyze the information, nor do they know the questions to ask CNN if they really want to hold their “feet to the fire.” Be fair. Has CNN boasted a little, perhaps. Have they justified why they have fallen from the June 3rd airing, no. Should they – well yes, but some senior management refuses to let material go out that isn’t flattering. I come from the school that you position and frame the story the best you can without being misleading. CNN can do that without creating the grumbling and inflammatory language that is on some of these websites. Language that I might add is completely uneducated in research and is just anxious for the opportunity to complain.

Let’s remember what the true purpose of the “Debate” was – a discourse of the American public with the Democratic candidates. Should the media cover it and give it attention and critique it – so be it. But at least use qualified television research people to analyze the ratings with knowledge of the ratings system so that readers have real perspective – otherwise you are just creating internet chatter that is meaningless.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

White House Correspondents' Association Dinner (2006)

I've come across some after hours photos and stories from various events that have CNN staff have attended in the Washington, D.C. area. This one is from last year's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner (WHCAD). The photos & article are from Washington Life and the photos included are from the event, pre & post parties.

Rolling at the CNN pre-party with the unlikely triumvirate of rapper Ludacris, Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was quite interesting given the mob vying for a photo-op with them. But spying Karl Rove dining just a few tables away from Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson definitely added to the intrigue of the dinner. Here were nearly 3,000 newsmakers and journalists rubbing elbows at a time of unprecedented tension between politicians and the press. As a disciple of the late muckraker Jack Anderson, I'm a hard-liner when it comes to standing up for the First Amendment, but what's wrong with socializing with the people we cover for one big night?

Alex Trebek and Wolf Blitzer
There's actually something reassuring about our ability to break bread, despite the blizzard of subpoenas and stakeouts, depositions and suppositions. I sat at the same table with Gen. Michael Hayden. This guy doesn't just collect secrets – he knows how to keep them: We sat together for nearly three hours and he gave not one solitary hint that within days there would be a coup at the CIA resulting in him replacing Porter Goss! I squirmed in my seat when guest comedian Stephen Colbert cracked, "If anyone needs anything for your tables, just speak clearly into your numbers and someone from the NSA will be there shortly."
Dana and Jeremy Bash
But I noticed Gen. Hayden chuckling – and I was pleasantly surprised to find him talking about sports teams from his hometown of Pittsburgh instead of wonkery battles in Aspen. I resisted the temptation to join the stampede to George Clooney's table (didn't want to confirm the impression that the journalists put style over substance) so, imagine my surprise when Gen. Hayden suddenly jumped up from his chair and raced across the room. Had the intelligence officer spotted a terrorist? Nope. Gen. Hayden, a quarterback in grade school, had been calculating just the right moment to approach Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger for a handshake – and he was pouncing like a linebacker. Maybe celeb-chasing isn't so bad. You have to like a four-star general wearing his blue-collar roots on the sleeves of his Air Force dress blues.

CNN's Campbell Brown

Its official. Campbell Brown will be joining CNN later this year!

Below is an excerpt from the CNN Press Release that came out yesterday:

Campbell Brown, an experienced and respected broadcast anchor and correspondent, will join CNN on Sept. 1, it was announced today by Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. Brown joins the network from NBC News where she served as anchor of Weekend Today and correspondent for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, for whom she was also the main anchor substitute.

“We are extremely fortunate to be able to bring Campbell Brown to CNN,” said Klein. “Campbell stands out in this business as an impressive anchor with a distinctive ability to connect with viewers. She has covered a range of stories over the years and is particularly well suited for CNN’s global and journalistic reach.”

Prior to joining Weekend Today, Brown covered numerous major news events for NBC and served as White House correspondent during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and the build up and launch of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The only questions left unanswered. What role is she going to play at CNN? Is someone losing their time slot? While we wait for answers, there's plenty of unofficial reports. From an article from Variety yesterday:

CNN won't say officially that Brown will land at 8 p.m., but CNN insiders expect her to do so, and for Zahn to leave the net when her contract expires this fall. CNN/U.S. prexy Jon Klein said another announcement would be made later this week.

CNN's deal with NBC will keep Brown from competing with Olbermann until November. Brown is expecting her first child late in December, but said she hopes to return in time for the Super Tuesday primary on Feb. 5.

"For me it's a rare opportunity to build a show from scratch, put my mark on it and cover stories I'm passionate about," Brown said.

What do you think about the potential shake up? Feel free to tell us your prediction or opinion in the comments.

YouTube Debate Round One

What a night! The first YouTube debate is in the history books.

Image credit: Matthew Rond for CNN© 2007. A Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

If you're wondering who was responsible for which questions of the thousands submitted got asked, blame these folks:

I don't envy their jobs. Not surprising, there were obviously a large volume of really good, deserving questions submitted. Not an easy task! Just going through the almost 3,000 videos had to have been a challenge. CNN should also be commended on leaving the opportunity to submit videos open until 3:00am this morning.

If you go to YouTube, they currently have a listing of all 39 video questions that were used in tonight's debate. If you're interested, check it out soon! This page is always being updated & there's no indication on how long this list will be available.

Thanks to CNN, we have some exclusive pictures of the debate preparations.

Image credit: Matthew Rond for CNN© 2007. A Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

I was thrilled to see that the set that was used in New Hampshire was back again for this debate.

Image credit: Matthew Rond for CNN© 2007. A Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Just in case you still need a score card to keep track of all the folks running this year, the participants in tonight's debate were:

Sen Mike Gravel
Sen Chris Dodd
Sen John Edwards
Sen Hillary Clinton
Sen Barack Obama
Gov Bill Richardson
Sen Joe Biden
Rep Dennis Kucinich

Since the questions were coming from the people, we were sure to get at least some that would not have otherwise been asked. Here are a few of the interesting questions posed to the candidates:

  • If you had to choose any republican as your running mate, who would it be?
  • How do Obama and Clinton respond to criticism that they are not black enough, not feminine enough?
  • Should women register for selective service?

With the debate being held at the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, I thought it was very appropriate that they took a moment to recognize the over 1,100 graduates that have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and the 12 that have died since 9/11/2001.

One of my favorite lines of the night came from Gov. Richardson when he responded to the “politics over conscience on the Iraq war" question when he said, “the lives of our young troops are more important than George Bush’s legacy.”

Asking the candidates to do their own 30 second YouTube video had mixed results. Some of the candidates used it as another 30 second commercial opportunity. Others, took a lighter approach. I thought Senator Dodd’s “white hare” video was cute.

One of my favorite moments of the debate was one of the lighter ones. The question about Al Gore that was then followed up with the question from the snowman about global warming.

The little snowman was just too cute!

Anderson Cooper was an excellent moderator for the debate. He kept the candidates on topic as much as possible and allowed them to respond to comments directed towards them by the other candidates.

The post debate program included a special edition of the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

The commentary included:

Maria Elena Salinez from Univision and Roland Martin

Tom Foreman providing us with some fact checking on the statements the candidates made.

A special edition of the Cafferty File with Jack Cafferty.

Focus groups from New Hampshire with Mary Snow and Nevada with Ted Rowlands.

Notice the slot machines in the background?

Bill Schneider with the buzz words used by the candidates.

A report from Carol Costello about the candidate's body language.

It was interesting that the men were nervous and Sen. Clinton appeared to be the most relaxed and projected the best non-verbal cues.

Overall, I thought the debate was a huge success. I loved the idea of letting anyone submit a question & having a real chance of getting it answered by the candidates. Watching tonight’s debate was fascinating. What I found disappointing was that although many of the candidates actually answered the question that was asked. They only gave the very briefest answer to the question and then morphed their rely into their typical talking points or stump speech or redefined what they thought the person should have asked.

Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear your thoughts on tonight's debate.

What were your favorite questions?

Who were the winners?

Who were the stinkers?

The concept of this debate was truly unique and original...

Was the outcome equally as unique & original?

Do you think that it achieved its goal?

Or did it just force the candidates to get creative on how to turn the answers into a stump speech?

With any type of debate or political process, there's always someone who feels left out. How does this type of debate compare to more traditional ones? Does it foster inclusion? Or alienate those that aren't technically savvy?

You don't think that the debate coverage ends tonight, do you? American Morning's John Roberts will be broadcasting tomorrow morning from South Carolina. Do you think we'll get to see this interview in the morning?

Thanks again to CNN for providing us with some exclusive pictures from tonight's debate!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Debates Update and Nic Robertson

The countdown to the CNN You Tube debates is finally over and today is the big day. CNN"s coverage from The Citadel begins at 7 PM, Eastern, but I expect that most of the days programs will heavily feature reports concerning the big event. Here's a link to an editorial in Sunday's LA Times about the event and one on C/ If you've been living under a rock and don't have a clue about You Tube and the debates these links are a must see.

Book Asylum will be covering the debates Monday night for All Things CNN and I'll be posting my review on our sister blog All Things Anderson. Please take the time to post comments about what you liked, what surprised you and what, if anything, totally bombed. We always love to get your prospective.

We've been seeing a lot of Nic Robertson reporting live from London recently on CNN. He's also been doing the updates on the civil unrest in Pakistan. I also came across this podcast Nic did and thought you might enjoy watching.
I've been a Nic admirer for a long time and I thought, since he's been on the air so frequently, it might be a good time to pull out an old post from our sister blog All Things Anderson and add a few updates.
photos from Gracie
Nic was born Dominic Robertson on June 8, 1962. He began his career at the network in 1989, starting as a satellite engineer. He first came to public attention when he stayed in Baghdad with Peter Arnett at the start of the Allied invasion of Iraq in 1991. Later that year, he was moved to Chicago , where he became a producer in CNN's Chicago Bureau. He then became the producer for Christiane Amanpour and was moved to CNN's London bureau, where he later made the jump to reporter.

Did you know that People magazine voted Nic Sexiest News Correspondent in 2001?

Nic is married to Margaret Lowrie Robertson, who worked for CNN, as an international reporter from 1989 to 2002? They live in London and have 2 daughters.

Margaret joined CNN in September 1989 and contributed extensively to coverage of the Gulf War from Baghdad, one of the first female TV news reporters to broadcast live from Iraq. She was made an international correspondent in 1993 and was based in London for nearly a decade. From 1985-1988 she worked for CBS News in Cairo . Before that she worked as a freelance radio correspondent for CBS in Beirut andNational Public Radio in Poland during the Solidarity era. She began her career as a copy-person at the New York Times in 1978 and was a news assistant in the Times' United Nations Bureau from 1979-82. Raised in Virginia , Lowrie is a graduate of Boston University . Her novel, Season of Betrayal, set in Beirut 1983, was published by Tatra Press in October 2006. It has a blurb from Anderson that reads"A captivating journey into war-torn Beirut ".

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Campbell Brown & Mystery Journalist

We're one step closer to finding out if Campbell Brown will be joining CNN.

Sunday was Campbell Brown's last day on NBC's Weekend edition of Today. She gave a tearful signed off and let viewers know that she "is pursuing a new opportunity in television." Hopefully, that opportunity will be with CNN, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Below is a clip of her final appearance on Today.


Mystery Journalist

This week's Mystery Journalist: CNN Whitehouse Correspondent, Ed Henry

How did you do this week? I'll post another Mystery Journalist clue in Friday's post.


A blog programming note: Check back later today for a post from Phebe & I'll be back tomorrow night with a post on the Democrat YouTube Debate.