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Thursday, January 31, 2008

California Debates....History in the Making

Over the past two evenings CNN along with the LA Times and brought us the final debates with the Republicans and Democratic candidates before Super Tuesday. Whatever side you fall on Republican, Democrat, or Independent we all know that we are getting to the point where these events are history making. This is an election that will be talked about for generations and generations to come and I could not be more excited by this. So rather then telling you what happened during the debates, I want to share some pictures from the two California Debates.

Republican Debate
Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, California

All photos courtesy E.M. Pio-Roda ©2008 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.

Democratic Debate
Kodak Theatre
Los Angeles, California

At the end of tonight's debate Wolf announced the next CNN debates will be held in Ohio on February 27 and 28th. Stay tuned!!!

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

President John Roberts, a CNN Newbie and Last Weeks Ratings

image courtesy of CNN
American Morning's John Roberts anchored from the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California on Wednesday morning. The site made for an excellent backdrop for AM and for CNN's Republican Debates. Thanks to BA for the clips of JR giving us the grand tour of Air Force One and the Oval Office.

John's spent the morning in the Reagan Library's replica of the Oval Office and of course he couldn't resist taking a sit behind the Presidential desk. All that was missing was a little 'Hail to the Chief'!

Scott Zamost, an investigative journalist who has won nearly every major broadcast journalism award for his hard-hitting reports, has joined CNN as an investigative producer in Atlanta, CNN announced on Wednesday. Zamost most recently was the investigative producer for WTVJ-TV/NBC 6 in Miami.

His awards include a national award from Investigative Reporters and Editors and a National Press Club award in 2007; two National Clarion awards for investigative reporting; four Edward R. Murrow awards; three National Headliner awards; numerous state, regional and national awards from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists and 23 Emmy awards and 43 Emmy nominations.


Yup, cable news/information channels each can have a story this week with a debate and primary coverage and regular programming averages. On top of that, cable channels issued their January ratings press releases, and if you look at all of them, you would think everyone won. Well, everyone did have some great highlights thanks to the interest in the political climate, the writer’s strike and special programming even on the weekends.

Over the last six months, the cable news/information channel wars have heated up, and even internet sites can take sides. But let’s point out the positives for CNN, because there are many.

CNN has stated their goal is to be the “go-to” channel in 2008 for politics. When it comes to primary coverage and debates, they are succeeding. For the first time in a very, very long time, they ranked #7 of the Top 20 cable programs last week with the Democratic Debate on January 21, 2008. Cable news/information channels rarely rank in the Top 20 Cable programs due to the way Nielsen issues them – based on total viewers 2+. Trust me when I say there are a lot of “twoplusers” who watch SPONGBOB SQUAREPANTS – like 10 of the Top 20 program slots were taken by that show.
CNN is the strongest cable channel in delivering debate audiences. It has five of the Top 10 debates for the 2007-08 primary season, with the Jan. 21, 2008 debate being the strongest debate audience of any cable channel since 1996.
CNN delivered double the Adult 18-34 audience versus the strongest Fox News debate (1/10/2008) and close to triple MSNBC’s (1/24/08) best performance with the young demographic.
CNN doubled Fox News’ best performance for Adults 18-49 with this debate and was almost 2 and ½ times the delivery of MSNBC.

CNN South Carolina Democratic Debate audience, Monday, Jan. 21, 2008:^

8PM – 10:05PM:
Adults 2+: 4,910,000
Adults 25-54: 1,997,000
Adults 18-49: 1,800,000
Adults 18-34: 789,000

Now, there will be some who will tell you that the preferred demographic in news is Adults 25-54, not 18-49 or 18-34. Well, while it’s true that news/information skews old, it is a PLUS to an advertiser to deliver the very sought after demographic of Adults 18-49. It is a key demographic in the advertising world, period. And for a news channel to deliver a decent amount of Adults 18-34 – well it’s just another plus. There are no negatives in delivering a younger audience – far more valuable than delivering a 55+ audience - ask any advertiser. Consider what Adults 25-54 means. Only 5 years of that age group falls outside Adults 18-49 – the gold standard in demographic delivery, regardless of channel or network. And anytime a cable channel can reach all age groups with political information that might encourage younger age groups to become involved in the process - that is a good thing – not something to be dismissed. Thank you, but I’ll take all the 18-34 and any 18-49 I can get in news audiences.

We’ll now cover regular programming, the primary coverage on Saturday Jan. 26, 2008 and brief comments on the month (because we cover the channels every week):

REGULAR PROGRAMMING – Jan. 21 – 25, 2008:^
Fox News: 506,000
CNN: 257,000*
MSNBC: 333,000

This is a time period for CNN that has its ups and downs. With two Lou Dobbs specials this week, and an uneven performance with the new Election Center, this is still not the strongest time period for CNN. But, ELECTION CENTER is up about 11% from last week’s performance. Bill O’Reilly continues to take the time period with COUNTDOWN a strong second.

Fox News: 400,000
CNN: 382,000**
MSNBC: 180,000***

Lots of special programming pre-empted regular programming for this hour, but LKL had an outstanding performance on Tuesday night – 572,000 versus his weekly average of 382,000. The week prior, LKL’s weekly average was 323,000 – so that Tuesday performance was well above what the program normally delivers for Adults 25-54. CNN took some blog hits that they fell substantially from the Monday debate performance. All regular programming falls from event programming. However, the Tuesday performance was 67% HIGHER than LKL’s regular program average. He was far and away the #1 program in the competitive 9PM time period Tuesday. Was it a “bump” from the prior night’s debate? In all likelihood, it was the late breaking news of the tragic death of Heath Ledger. HANNITY & COLMES had a good week and with Dan Abrams only airing three times that week, brought up the rear.

Fox News: 374,000
CNN: 595,000+
MSNBC: 228,000****

On the surface, yes, AC360 beat GRETA substantially last week with the strength of the post debate analysis on Monday being classified as a 360 and the strong performance of the program the next night. Tuesday, while it fell from the Monday debate analysis, once again like LKL, it was far stronger than its normal audience delivery. Tuesday’s 360 soundly beat GRETA by 86,000 viewers – that’s a lot in anyone’s book. While I don’t think it is really fair to code debate analysis with the same debate staff as a “360,” Nielsen has accepted it, so I have averaged it in. I have given you the excluded average in the footnotes so you can see the difference. We are all dependent on how channels code their programming and if Nielsen accepts it, that decides it, not me. MSNBC programming came in last with its “docbloc.”

Program Note: MSNBC also had a Republican debate on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008 and was their strongest debate delivery to date for this channel. Its 2+ audience was 2,636,000 (far off of CNN’s Monday Democratic debate average) and was #1 in the 9PM-11PM time period.

South Carolina Primary Coverage, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008: ^

Once again, CNN led the primary coverage of the South Carolina Primary on Saturday for Adults 25-54. They were edged out of a 2+ win by Fox News, but had a higher audience peak of primary coverage than Fox News for the entire evening at 9PM with 1,917,000 viewers over Fox News’ 1,365,000.

Primary Coverage 6PM – 10PM; Adults 25-54:^
Fox News: 434,000
CNN: 525,000
MSNBC: 356,000

CNN has made real inroads in audience delivery particularly in the 9PM and 10PM hours in primetime for Adults 25-54. With a strong debate, primary and regular programming, it paid off for 360 to be able to win the 10PM TIME PERIOD BLOCK against GRETA – 382,000 versus 360,000. It was a real high point for CNN and we’ll see if it keeps up this year.

CNN far and away had the best debate delivery for Adults 25-54, Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Total audience 2+ for debates which aired in January, 2008 (there was one for each channel – Fox News, CNN and MSNBC).

CNN has the top three debates in cable news history in Total Audience 2+, Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54.

There were several other TIME PERIOD advantages that CNN had, but they were based on time period averages for Monday – Friday or Monday – Sunday. We tend to look at programs unless I specify it is a time period average. In any case, CNN had a great January.

Whew! See you next week!

*4 day average; debate aired Monday; includes two Lou Dobbs election specials – Tues/Fri.
**4 day average; debate aired Monday.
***3 day average; “Docbloc” airs Fri; debate aired Thur.
+Includes Special AC360 debate analysis Monday versus regular program average of 373,000.
****4 day average; debate aired Thur.
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54 and other audience where noted; Live + Same Day (LS); Fast Track Nationals.

Thanks, as always to our Ratings Guru and I'll see you back here next week. ~ Phebe

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

He Blew Us Off For Lunch...

If you're working with Jack Cafferty don't show up late for the broadcast- especially with an excuse like "I had lunch with the President." Evidently, that's the equivalent of saying that the "dog ate my homework".

Monday's Situation Room started off with John King anchoring. Viewers were reassured that Wolf Blitzer would be there soon. Blitzer did show up and it was explained that he had had lunch at the White House (as is tradition on the day of the State of the Union address). Blitzer hasn't master the art of being in two cities at once, so he joined The Situation Room's broadcast as soon as he was able to get from Washington, D.C. to the CNN Election Center in New York. Cafferty wasn't invited to the luncheon and wasn't all that impressed. I've put together a string of the comments that were made during about Blitzer's absence over the course of the three hour broadcast:

Blitzer blogged about the lunch. Did you ever think that you would see Wolf Blitzer blog about what he had for lunch? I'll save you the effort of heading over to here's his post from yesterday afternoon:

Posted: 04:05 PM ET

This is the final pre-State of the Union reporters' lunch in the Bush White House.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — It's an annual State of the Union Day tradition: the president invites the TV network anchors and Sunday talk show hosts for lunch at the White House. The ground rules are that we can say we went to the luncheon, but the session is for our background only — meaning largely off the record. Still, it's a good way for us to pierce — at least a little — President Bush's thinking.

He comes across as determined to squeeze in as much as he can during this final year in office. It reminded me of what I used to hear from President Clinton when he had a year left. (He used to have similar background sessions with reporters.) They love being president and want to savor every minute.

President Bush does not come across as overly nostalgic — though he no doubt has to feel that way. It would be only natural. There is way too much unfinished business, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Iran; the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal which he believes is within reach; and the enormous domestic issues on his plate, including the economy. He is laying it all out in his State of the Union address. He professes not to be overly concerned about his legacy. That will be left to historians.

For those of you who are interested, we had lunch upstairs in the White House residence — in the Yellow Oval Office, as it is called. Vice President Cheney also attended. On the menu: mushroom and ricotta ravioli, seared salmon, white asparagus and mini tomato salad, and warm gingerbread cake with praline ice cream. It was delicious. The wine (which I didn't drink because I had to get right back to work) was a 2004 Peter Michael Chardonnay "Ma Belle-Fille."

I spent seven years covering Bill Clinton when he was President, as CNN's Senior White House correspondent. And I have attended several of these luncheons with President Bush. For a reporter, I must say, it is always fascinating getting a chance to see these leaders up close.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Cafferty wasn't the only one that didn't get an invitation to the luncheon. Turns out Lou Dobbs not only didn't get an invitation to the luncheon, he also didn't get an invitation to the White House Christmas party. But, Dobbs was there in spirit, sort of. Turns out there was a discussion at the luncheon about the failed immigration legislation that the White House supported and the White House blames Dobbs for contributing to its failure. Dobbs was thrilled.

Are you planning on watching the ‘Super Bowl’ of Presidential Debates this week? From the CNN Pressroom, here is some additional information about this week's programming:

CNN, the Los Angeles Times and POLITICO are conducting back-to-back presidential primary debates less than one week before Super Tuesday. The Republican debate on Wednesday, Jan. 30, and the Democratic debate on Thursday, Jan. 31, will be the final face-off for the candidates before primary voters in more than 20 states flock to the polls on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Each debate will run approximately 90 minutes beginning at 8 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (PT).

Anchor Anderson Cooper will moderate the Republican candidates’ debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Jim VandeHei, executive editor of the POLITICO, and Janet Hook, senior political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, will serve as panelists questioning the candidates. CNN’s lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer will moderate the Democratic candidates’ debate at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland the following night. Panelists will be Doyle McManus, Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, and Jeanne Cummings, a senior correspondent for the POLITICO.

All three partners will provide robust, online elements in conjunction with the debates. The Los Angeles Times will offer readers live analysis at as well as a “Top of the Ticket” blog, discussion boards and live streaming video direct from the Kodak Theatre. These elements complement the Times’ ongoing news coverage, editorials and analysis intended to aid voters in making informed decisions on Super Tuesday.

For the debates, POLITICO has gathered thousands of questions for the candidates from its readers across the country. Viewers can log on to during the debates to vote for the questions panelists will ask the candidates. will also feature a live blog all night from the debate halls, post-debate analysis, behind-the-scenes video, photos and more.

Up-to-the minute reporting and analysis will be available at, the CNN Political Ticker at and at Live, accessible at

CNN International and CNN en Español will simulcast both debates. Anchor and correspondent Richard Quest will report live from Los Angeles as part of his “American Quest” tour.

Headline News will re-air the Republican debate on Thursday, Jan. 31, from 10 a.m. to noon (ET) and the Democratic debate on Friday, Feb. 1, from 10 a.m. to noon. (ET).

Still want more? CNN is bringing back their Broken Government Series.

CNN Productions plans to produce a series of one-hour documentaries in 2008 under its successful Broken Government brand. As it did in the 2006 midterm election, the series seeks to offer clarity to the political topics receiving close attention during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.

The first documentary in the series, Broken Government: Health Care Critical Condition, is reported by CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Critical Condition will premiere on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 11 p.m., immediately following the CNN/Los Angeles Times/POLITICO Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate and will replay on Saturday, Feb. 2, and Sunday, Feb. 3, at 11 p.m. All times Eastern.

In Critical Condition, Gupta focuses on the gaps in health care coverage experienced by the more than 45 million Americans who lack adequate health insurance. These include consumers with health insurance still vulnerable to bankruptcy by medical bills and the uninsured who cannot afford healthcare. Gupta also examines various health care plan proposals and the pros and cons of universal health care coverage in other countries.

Other Broken Government documentaries in the 2008 series will feature CNN’s Rick Sanchez taking an in-depth look at inconsistent and ineffective U.S. immigration policies; chief technology and environment correspondent Miles O’Brien investigating the impact of government policies on the environment; and a documentary on the government failures at the federal, state and local levels that continue to plague those impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Additional programs in the series will be announced later in the campaign season.

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Monday, January 28, 2008

CNN Campaign Coverage Notes

CNN issued a press release regarding their campaign coverage up to and including Super Tuesday.

With more viewers turning to CNN for their primary election night and debate coverage than any other cable news network, CNN will offer marathon political programming leading up to Super Tuesday, the most important primary day in of the 2008 election.

Coverage will kick off on Saturday, Jan. 26, with a four-hour installment of “Ballot Bowl,” uninterrupted coverage of Democratic and Republican candidates’ significant live and recent events, leading up to the network’s coverage of the Democratic primary in South Carolina. Extended political programming continues through Monday, Jan. 28, with President George W. Bush’s final State of the Union address and through Super Tuesday on Feb. 5 with a 40-hour marathon of continuous live political coverage.

Building on the enormous success of CNN’s presidential primary debates, CNN, the Los Angeles Times and POLITICO will hold two back-to-back presidential primary debates, the final face-off before more than 20 states flock to the polls for Super Tuesday. The Republican debate will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and the Democratic debate will take place on Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.Anchor Anderson Cooper will moderate the Republican candidates’ debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Jim VandeHei, executive editor of the POLITICO, and Janet Hook, senior political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, will serve as panelists questioning the candidates. CNN’s lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer will moderate the Democratic candidates’ debate at the Kodak Theater the following night. Panelists will include Doyle McManus, Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, and Jeanne Cummings, a senior correspondent for the POLITICO. Each debate will run approximately 2 hours beginning at 8 p.m. (ET).

Larry King will host a one-hour special “The Reagan I Knew” on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Following the Jan. 31 Democratic debate at 11 p.m., senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will present the documentary Broken Government: Health Care Critical Condition.
CNN’s Super Tuesday programming will be announced soon; programming until that date includes:

Saturday, Jan. 26
2 p.m.-6 p.m. Ballot Bowl
6 p.m.-10 p.m. Special South Carolina primary edition of CNN Election Center live from the CNN Election Center in New York

Monday, Jan. 28
6 a.m.-9 a.m. American Morning with John Roberts live on Capitol Hill
4 p.m.-7 p.m. The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer live from the CNN Election Center in New York
7 p.m.-8 p.m Pre-State of the Union edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight
8 p.m.-9 p.m Special State of the Union edition of CNN Election Center
9 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Live coverage of the State of the Union address with analysis coverage anchored by Blitzer
10:30 p.m.-12 a.m. Anderson Cooper anchors a special edition of Anderson Cooper 360°

Tuesday, Jan. 29
6 a.m.-9 a.m. American Morning with John Roberts live from Florida
8 p.m.-12 a.m. Live special coverage of the Florida primaries. Blitzer anchors from the CNN Election Center in New York. Cooper joins live from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
12 a.m.-1 a.m. Special live edition of Larry King Live

Wednesday, Jan. 30
6 a.m.-9 a.m. American Morning with John Roberts live on location at the Reagan Library
4 p.m.-7 p.m. The Situation Room live at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles
7 p.m.-8 p.m Pre-debate edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight8 p.m.-10 p.m. CNN/Los Angeles Times/POLITICO Republican Candidates Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
10 p.m.-11 p.m. Anderson Cooper 360º with Cooper live on location at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
11 p.m.-12 a.m. Larry King special, “The Reagan I Knew” (debut)
12 a.m.-1:30 a.m. CNN/Los Angeles Times/POLITICO Republican Candidates Debate – Encore Presentation

Thursday, Jan. 31
6 a.m.-9 a.m. American Morning with John Roberts live on location at the Kodak Theater
4 p.m.-7 p.m. The Situation Room live on location at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles
7 p.m.-8 p.m Pre-debate edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight8 p.m.-10 p.m. CNN/Los Angeles Times/POLITICO Democratic Candidates Debate
10 p.m.-11 p.m. Special post-debate edition of Anderson Cooper 360º
11 p.m.-12 a.m. Broken Government: Health Care Critical Condition with Dr. Sanjay Gupta (debut)
12 a.m. -1:30 a.m.CNN/Los Angeles Times/POLITICO Democratic Candidates Debate – Encore Presentation

Friday, Feb. 1
6 a.m.-9 a.m. American Morning with John Roberts live on location at the Kodak Theater
CNN’s Emmy Award-winning political team will be covering all aspects of the campaign trail. Dana Bash, John King and Mary Snow will be covering the Republican candidates, and Candy Crowley, Suzanne Malveaux and Jessica Yellin will be reporting on the Democrats. Also providing reports will be CNN correspondents Jim Acosta, Tom Foreman, Joe Johns, Chris Lawrence and Dan Lothian; Gloria Borger; senior political analyst; Jack Cafferty, commentator; David Gergen, senior political analyst; Bill Schneider, senior political analyst; and Jeff Toobin, legal analyst; and CNN’s nationally known contributors Bill Bennett, Carl Bernstein, Donna Brazile, Amy Holmes and Roland Martin.

CNN International and CNN en Español will simulcast both debates. Anchor and correspondent Richard Quest will report live from Los Angeles as part of his “American Quest” tour.
Headline News will re-air the Republican debate on Thursday, Jan. 31, from 10 a.m. to noon (ET) and the Democratic debate on Friday, Feb. 1, from 10 a.m. to noon. (ET).

Up-to-the minute reporting and analysis will be available at, the CNN Political Ticker at and at Live, accessible at Live will provide extended coverage with anchors Reggie Aqui, Naamua Delaney, Nicole Lapin and Melissa Long co-anchoring from the Election Center in New York and from the Live studio in Atlanta.

Through Super Tuesday, CNN Radio will provide live coverage anchored by Lisa Desjardins, Jim Roope and Dick Uliano. CNN Newsource will provide its affiliates access to live reports on-site from “RunningMate” exclusive correspondent Samantha Hayes.

In addition, the CNN Election Express – a state-of-the-art mobile news bureau – will be part of CNN’s unmatched coverage as it makes its way across the country, arriving in Los Angeles before the debates and remaining in California through Super Tuesday.

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)

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Where Have All The Commentators Gone?

Watch out, here comes the soap box!

A recent post on Greg Sargent's blog, Horses Mouth Home, confirmed my suspicions that the disappearance of long time regular commentators was not accidental.

Have you noticed anyone missing from the CNN Election Center on primary nights?

For the last several weeks James Carville and Paul Begala have not been seen anywhere near the Election Center or the Situation Room. CNN has removed them as well as Robert Zimmerman from their line up because they are supporting Senator Clinton.

Sam Feist, CNN's political director, also confirmed the decision to me. "As we got closer to the voting, we made a decision to make sure that all the analysts that are on are non-aligned," Feist said, adding that the decision had been made around the start of December. "Carville and Begala are two of the best analysts around and we look forward to seeing them on CNN plenty of times in the future, once the nominating process has ended."

Feist pointed out that a few other analysts aligned with campaigns of both parties had been told the same, and added that aligned analysts would only be appearing in contexts where they were acting as campaign surrogates. Carville did appear on Larry King on Jan. 9 as a surrogate.

Carville and Begala's presence on CNN has led to criticism for the network in the past. A few months ago the liberal blogosphere roundly condemned CNN for presenting them as neutral observers without identifying them clearly and frequently as Hillary supporters. In response to the criticism, CNN started identifying them as Hillary backers.

Interestingly, not everyone at CNN appears to agree with this decision. "People inside CNN are surprised," one person involved with CNN programming told me. "No other network buckled to this political pressure. CNN has removed from its lineup top analysts who know about the national political scene."

I can't say that I've ever mistaken Begala or Carville for unbiased commentators while watching them on CNN. And I've missed the opinions that they could offer during this primary season. Who better to offer an insight into the Clinton political machine than those who once worked for it! I'm disappointed with CNN for not believing that their viewers are intelligent enough to decide for themselves whether or not Zimmerman, Carville, or Begala's analysis is accurate.

I fully expect that political commentators like Bill Bennett, Amy Holmes, Donna Brazile, and Roland Martin are going to be biased. I thought that was the whole point - to offer a variety of viewpoints during the election season and let the viewers make up their own minds.

It would be completely different if they were working for the campaign. Ed Rollins absence is understandable since he's become part of Governor Huckabee's campaign.

I don't think that a commentator having a pubic opinion about the campaign is enough to banish them from the discussion. That's my opinions. What's yours?

Enough of my soap box and onto lighter things. Last weekend, John Zarrella filed a story about a young reporter covering the 2008 Election. Shelby Fallin, who is only 9 years old, reports for Scholastic News. Below is a clip from the report:


Mystery Journalist

This week's Mystery Journalist was a challenge for me. I've struggle to find an appropriate picture that wasn't completely obvious. Yes, this week's Mystery Journalist was Anderson Cooper.

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

On the road again

The morning after Yet Another Debate, John Roberts spoke with Ali Velshi about the crazy economic situation as Ali prepared to leave for his trip on the Election Express -- as Phebe mentioned Wednesday, Ali is going from Myrtle Beach to Los Angeles, stopping all along the way to see how Americans are viewing this political campaign.

In this clip, Ali gives us a tour inside the bus just before it heads out on the road:

And this is a sneak peek inside the tent set up for the American Morning broadcast. Plus, John tells us the secrets to staying warm at the crack of dawn:

What a gorgeous backdrop John had there... almost makes it worth being so cold!

Where in the World...?

Sunday, Susan Roesgen was in Atlanta co-hosting Sunday Morning with TJ Holmes, while Rick Sanchez filled in for Ali Velshi on Your Money. On the political front, Dana Bash and Suzanne Malveaux reported from Charleston, South Carolina, while John King was in New Port Richey, Florida. Monday, John had moved on to Orlando. And John Roberts, Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley, and Ali Velshi were all in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On Tuesday, Ali boarded the Election Express to begin his cross-country trek. And John King was in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Wednesday, John Roberts was back in NYC. During the day, Dana Bash reported from both Estero and Jerome Florida, while John King was in Fort Lauderdale. Soledad O'Brien co-hosted Election Center from NY, and Ali Velshi had made it to Little Rock, Arkansas.

Thursday, John King was in Boca Raton, Florida; Dana Bash was in Hollywood, Florida; Candy Crowley was in Columbia, South Carolina; Suzanne Malveaux was in Beaufort, South Carolina. Soledad again co-hosted Election Center. Zain Verjee remains in Nairobi, Kenya. And Michael Holmes (above) reported from Baghdad; he had just come off an 8-day embed in Mosul. (For those of you keeping score, Michael Ware is still on vacation. I know, I know...hang in there, he'll be back soon!)

On Friday, John Roberts was in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina for American Morning, and Dana Bash was in Miami.

And I hate to post and run, but I work weekends (and they have a firewall that blocks Blogger -- the nerve!) so it's out into that cold, rainy day and off to the J-O-B. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Friday, January 25, 2008

First Class Seating?

CNN has really stepped up their blogs over the last few weeks. There have been a variety of contributors and hardly a day goes by that there isn't something interesting that pops up.

Yesterday, one of the posts that caught my eye was on the CNN Political Ticker. Photojournalists Derek Davis and Jung Park described their adventures traveling with Governor Huckabee on the campaign trail:

(CNN) – Amid reports that GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee's campaign is running low on cash and making cutbacks, embedded CNN photojournalists Derek Davis and Jung Park filed this diary entry just days before the campaign announced it would no longer give journalists an opportunity to buy a ticket and travel with the candidate. This week, the campaign grounded its chartered press airplanes entirely.

A ton of gear, a non-stop schedule, and constant airplane travel. If you’re a CNN photojournalist like me who’s embedded with a presidential campaign, those things are part of a typical day.

Not so typical: an afternoon riding a toilet seat in a propeller plane over South Carolina.

Late last week, we were with the former Arkansas governor as he campaigned in South Carolina in his final push before the GOP primary.

As photographers for CNN, we have the opportunity to witness politics up close, literally to have a front row seat to history in the making. But, politics also means something else to people like us in the trenches: It’s physical. It’s exciting. It’s tough.

Our recent travel with Huckabee took the toughness to new heights. After covering an event where the GOP presidential candidate discussed the economy with South Carolina steel workers, we made our way to the airport and discovered that we’d be flying the rest of the day on a double-propeller, 8-seat airplane. There were a total of three of these planes – one for Huckabee and his staff, and two more for the press traveling with the campaign.

We shared our plane with a crew from CBS News. Once we’d loaded our gear (two cameras, tripods, audio equipment, tapes, boom poles, etc.) and the other crew had loaded its equipment, there wasn’t much room left for us.

I am now much closer to a CBS sound technician than I ever wanted to be – we shared a seat on the flight. But at least I had one.

My colleague Jung wasn’t so lucky. It may have been covered and padded but make no mistake about it, Jung flew all around South Carolina on a toilet. (They did a good job on camouflage: He didn’t know it was a toilet and nobody thought to tell him.) Isn’t cable news glamorous?

On Thursday's American Morning, Veronica De La Cruz did a follow up report about the student that called a school administrator complaining about not getting a snow day. And John Roberts had a thing or two to say about the student's reaction to the attention.


Mystery Journalist

Ready for a little game of name that ear?
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.

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ladies Night

I came across an online article Mark Schwed of the Palm Beach Post recently did an article on some of the major female anchors in cable news. Included in the article were Heidi Collins, Kiran Chetry, Erica Hill, Robin Meade and Christi Paul as well as other female anchor from other cable stations. To read about all the ladies, click here. I enjoyed it but I must say I was a little disappointed that Kyra Phillips was not included.

At the end of last year I read an article about 2007 being the deadliest year for journalist. It caught my eye because I am such a huge follower of the news (You have to be when you blog). Well I came across an email about Christiane Amanpour and this very topic. The following is part of the article that was accompanying the email.

Attacks on the Press, our annual worldwide survey, will have an international release in various cities on Monday, February 4. This year’s edition includes analyses of emerging trends as reported by our program coordinators and researchers. Bob Dietz explores the myriad of press freedom issues confronting China as it gears up for the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing. Carlos Lauría examines how government censors television in Venezuela. Joel Campagna investigates a creeping trend in the Middle East, where governments quietly manipulate press laws. Nina Ognianova explores how the Kremlin’s tactics to undermine press freedom are influencing other parts of the region. And Tom Rhodes explores the downturn of press freedom in many new African democracies.

The book features a preface from CNN’s Christiane Amanpour as well as an introduction from Joel Simon. Attacks on the Press in 2007 will be released simultaneously on our Web site, Copies of the book will be available through Brookings Institution, To read the entire article, click here.

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The CNN Express and Last Week's Ratings

CNN’s Senior Business Correspondent and co-host of Your $$$$$ (Money) is on the road in CNN’s Election Express. Ali Velshi will travel from South Carolina to California. Velshi will visit nine states and travel 2600 miles, all in six days. He will stop along the way and talk to the voters about the economy and other issues at the forefront for them. If the weather cooperates look for the CNN Express on Thursday in Abilene, TX, Friday in El Paso, TX, Saturday in Phoenix, AZ and Sunday night in Los Angeles, CA To follow along or to just send Ali a comment the adventure is posted on the CNN Ticker.
In other CNN news Jack Cafferty is appearing with Sue Simmons at 92nd St. Y in NYC on Thursday night. Information about tickets can be found on the CNN Calendar.


Yup it’s only January and we are in full swing with political coverage of caucuses, primaries and yes, more debates. We are almost to the point of two debates a week along with a caucus or primary thrown in. And, Saturdays are now in the mix. Is it good for cable news? It’s GREAT for cable news – just imagine what would be covered if politics were not in full swing (in more ways than one, including mud slinging…). The race is starting to create candidate fall-out so the debates are smaller, the candidates are being “sound-bited” to death and the accusations, real or embellished are being hurled. What will it be like in May just prior to the conventions? CNN and MSNBC have the lion’s share of the debates along with an 8PM block on CNN each night now – “Election Center,” and primary coverage when it happens. CNN is still tops at primary coverage as well.

Let’s start with the weekly averages:

Fox News: 608,000*
CNN: 227,000**
MSNBC: 348,000

The CNN average with or without the special Lou Dobbs on Tuesday came in third in the time period. The viewership landscape is changing, and even with the interest in politics, ELECTION CENTRAL will need a little while to see if it can attract viewers. This block typically comes in third to Bill O’Reilly and COUNTDOWN.

Fox News: 441,000*
CNN: 296,000
MSNBC: 175,000***

Whatever happened on Monday for Fox News, it certainly helped each program’s average in the primetime block. HANNITY and COLMES had a very strong week. LKL had a solid week, with strong programs surprisingly on debate Tuesday and Friday evening. MSNBC without the debate average on Tuesday and its “DocBlock” on Friday remained a steady third with Dan Abrams only airing three days.

Fox News: 438,000****
CNN: 296,000
MSNBC: 150,000*****

Oh yeah, a lot of asterisks here with various programs being pre-empted from their regular fare on the channels. AC360 did air for five full days, and pulled a decent second finish. GRETA was on the road in the Middle East with President Bush and had a one-on-one interview with the President on Wednesday. This program helped her week average along with a very strong performance on Monday.

Program Note: MSNBC did air a Democratic debate on Tuesday night, Jan. 15, 2008 which aired from 9-11PM. They were far and away #1 for the time period along with their post debate analysis on MSNBC at 11PM. In the latest 2007/2008 debate ranking, it came in at #7. CNN with its debate this past Monday still holds the top 4 ranking cable debates, and 5 out of the top 10 in cable.

SATURDAY, Jan 19, 2008 Nevada Democratic Caucus and South Carolina Republican Primary:^

While the Nevada Caucus took place during daytime, Wolf Blitzer manned coverage in New York City. While we don’t get daytime figures, CNN was the strongest in audience delivery beginning at 5PM with its BALLOT BOWL program. CNN had a +17% advantage at 5PM with its BALLOT BOWL in comparison to Fox’s YOU DECIDE. MSNBC was just an also ran in the 5PM hour.
At 6PM, audience viewership tightened up MSNBC edged Fox News and CNN from 6-6:30PM, but Fox News bounced back at 6:30-7PM to edge out MSNBC and CNN.

At 7PM, ELECTION CENTER kicked in and so did the audience for CNN for the rest of the night. CNN led Fox News by comfortable margins to take the night not only in prime, but in averaging the entire block of Caucus/Primary coverage from 5PM-11PM Saturday night. MSNBC’s coverage strengthened considerably at 6PM to beat both Fox News and CNN, but that was the only hour. For the rest of the evening, CNN led all cable channels in covering the political scene.

Primary and Caucus coverage on CNN is setting the standard to be beat. But I’m still not saying “the phrase that shall not be named……”

See you next week and let me know if you have any questions. We’ll look at the age composition in the debates next week – you might find it interesting.

*4 day average; “You Decide” aired Tuesday against debate night on MSNBC.
**4 day average; Lou Dobbs special aired against Tuesday debate night on MSNBC.
***3 day average; democratic debate aired Tuesday; “DocBlock” aired Friday.
****4 day average; special Hannity & Colmes aired Tuesday.
*****4 day average; debate aired Tuesday.
^Courtesy, Nielsen Media Research, Adults 25-54, Live + Same Day (LS), Fast Track Nationals.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Updates And Awards

Let's start tonight off with a few highlights from the CNN Pressroom:

Randi Subarsky Joins CNN Worldwide as Vice President of Development

As CNN Worldwide explores innovative ways to embrace information technology and reach its global audience, the network has hired veteran television executive and producer Randi Subarsky as its new vice president of development, it was announced today by Susan Bunda, executive vice president for content development and strategy for CNN Worldwide.

For this new role at CNN, Subarsky will lead program development teams based in Atlanta and New York City with the challenge of developing news programming across multiple platforms with new technology and viewer outreach. She will also serve as the executive overseeing talent recruitment, special projects and cross-platform initiatives. Based in New York, she will report to Bunda.

Subarsky comes to CNN as a creative and experienced producer in all aspects of programming development, production and marketing with a strong track record of motivating her teams to deliver compelling content across multiple platforms.

“CNN consistently stands out as one of the most innovative brands in the news business, always looking for new and inventive ways to present the news,” Subarsky said. “This is an organization where we can maximize all the talent and experience across numerous broadcasting and digital platforms. I’m very excited to be here.”

Reza Sayah Joins Network as International Correspondent as Pakistan Nears Elections

Continuing its unprecedented expansion into international newsgathering, CNN Worldwide has appointed Reza Sayah as an international correspondent based in Pakistan, it was announced today by Parisa Khosravi, senior vice president of international newsgathering.

Sayah, an investigative reporter and anchor for WXYZ/Channel 7 in Detroit for the past six years, joins the network as Pakistan recovers from the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and eventually engages in a nationwide election for president.

“Our expansion of personnel in Pakistan is part of our ongoing plan to gather and provide more content for all of CNN, especially since Pakistan remains a very important story on the international scene,” Khosravi said. “Reza has a proven track record of solid reporting in the field and resourcefulness in getting to the critical elements of the story.”

Born in Iran, Sayah speaks English, Farsi and French and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Pepperdine University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. In addition to WXYZ, Sayah has worked at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Mo., WTAJ-TV in Altoona, Pa., and WTVR-TV in Richmond, Va.

Erica Hill Joins CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°

Erica Hill is joining CNN/U.S. as an anchor and as a correspondent to Anderson Cooper 360°, it was announced today by David Doss, executive producer of Anderson Cooper 360°.

Hill has served as an anchor at Headline News since January 2003, most recently for Prime News with Erica Hill. In addition, she provided news updates for Anderson Cooper 360° since April 2005. She joins Anderson Cooper 360° full-time on Friday, Feb. 1, and will be based in New York.

To read more about Erica's move to Anderson Cooper 360°, check out the post on All Things Anderson.

CNN Newsource Hires Sandra Endo as Correspondent for D.C. Bureau

Sandra Endo is joining CNN Newsource’s Washington, D.C., bureau, it was announced today by Paul Crum, executive director of news operations, administration and affiliate services for CNN/U.S.

Endo will serve as a national correspondent and will report live from the scene of breaking news events and from the nation’s capital, providing live reports for more than 800 CNN Newsource partner stations.

Endo comes to CNN Newsource from NY1 where she served as the lead political reporter and has covered a wide array of campaigns, four national political conventions and New York City’s transit strike in 2005. Endo started at NY1 in 1998 as a video journalist and field producer and previously worked at WNBC-TV and interned at ABC News.

And a few other note worthy items....

John King was mentioned in the NY Post's Page Six section on Friday.

CNN's chief national correspondent, John King, has a way to go before marrying his co-worker and sweetheart, congressional correspondent Dana Bash. The Irish Catholic is converting to Judaism before their May wedding. "Yes, it is true," he told Page Six. "I'm studying to convert and will consider inviting you to my bar mitzvah. Mazel tov. On a more serious note, I took a class and am working with a wonderful rabbi in DC, and it has been a remarkably enriching experience."

TVNewser also had two updates to the NY Post article:

  • A call from CNN updates the fact that despite the Page Six reporting, Dana Bash's father is not a rabbi, he's a producer at ABC News, and has been for some 40 years. Oy.
  • King emailed TVNewser this morning to talk about his "process" of conversion: "I started months ago with a class in DC and it convinced me I wanted to do it and I am learning from the experience. It was my idea. I tell Dana all the time if I can convert to Judaism she can convert to being a Red Sox fan. Both are very welcoming 'nations.'"

And finally tonight, award season is upon us and its no surprise that CNN is receiving quite a collection of nominations:

2008 NAMIC Vision Awards

    • “Special Investigations Unit: Judgment in Jena”/CNN
    • “Special Investigations Unit: Children of the Storm”/CNN
    • “American Morning: MLK Series/Soledad O’Brien”/CNN


  • Outstanding News/ Information – (Series or Special)
    • “American Morning Series: MLK Papers” (CNN)
    • “Dr. Sonja Gupta: Saving Your Life” (CNN)

CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh will be one of the Special Honorees at The New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) Annual Scholarship & Awards Dinner on Wednesday, February 13th. NYABJ recognizes the best in Print, New Media, Radio, Magazine and Television reporting of issues that affect the Black Diaspora.

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Democratic Debate and GLAAD Nominations

Tonight CNN along with The Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute held the Democratic Debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Wolf Blitzer moderated along with Suzanne Malveaux and Joe Johns. The debate was intense tonight and it will only get more intense as we head into Super Tuesday. Here are some photos from the debate.

Debate photos ©Ted Pio-Roda/CNN

The GLAAD Award Nominees were released and CNN has been nominated in the following categories

TV Journalism - News Segment

"The First Casualty" Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)
"Gay Homeless Teens" Uncovering America (CNN)
"Gospel of Inclusion" Uncovering America (CNN)
"Sent Away to 'Change'" Good Morning America (ABC)
"Sex Change Controversy" Paula Zahn Now (CNN)

Digital Journalism – Multimedia

"The Advocate 40th Anniversary'" (
"Fuera del Closet: Gay Hispanic Immigrants in Dallas" by Sergio Chapa (
"Landmark Moments in Gay Hollywood" by Mark S. Luckle (
"Uncovering America: Fighting for Acceptance" (

The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be held in New York on March 17, 2008 at the Marriott Marquis; in South Florida at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 12; in Los Angeles on April 26 at the Kodak Theatre; and in San Francisco on May 10 at the San Francisco Marriott. GLAAD will provide details about upcoming broadcast dates in the near future.

Today TVNewser reported that Erica Hill may be leaving her show on Headline News to join Anderson Cooper 360 permanently. If we receive any confirmation, we will pass it on to all of you.

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things CNN and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.