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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

League of First Time Voters

At the end of August CNN launched League of First Time Voters. It is described as "a multi-platform programming initiative designed to inform, involve and empower individuals passionate about this election cycle". The website has resources to explain how to register to vote in your state and stats of how your state voted in the presidential election since 1976. You can also see little blurb of each candidate's stance on the different issues.

Huffington Post reviewed the site and says "CNN president Jon Klein explained the initiative in a statement as one which will "empower" new voters "to have a voice this political season" -- but it's also meant to empower CNN's ratings. Per CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson: "It's a way for CNN to engage more fully with our new audiences who have been tuning in this election cycle." CNN came first in the all-important 25-54 demo for prime time in the election-crazy first quarter of 2008, beating longtime winner Fox for the first time in six years and ekeing ahead of close competitor MSNBC. CNN has also done well by the debates with 9 of the top 10 most-watched debates on cable, including those newfangled YouTube debates. The kids love those.

It's a smart idea — at minimum it's a great resource and public service for voters, and beyond that it's a great opportunity to attract new viewers, at least online, and hook them in with whatever information they may be seeking (the League site will also act as an aggregator with material from other sites). It also harnesses and repackages CNN's pre-existing online resources — something old media is slowly learning how to do — and finds what could be a perfect fit for on-air resource Sanchez, whose energizer-bunny level of excitement is well-established. We'll see if the kids love that, too."


ESPN The Magazine did an interview with Wolf Blitzer. Here are some snippets of that interview.

You've been a journalist all over the world . What are the biggest differences in appreciation of sport that you've seen in various places?

The biggest change is how much basketball has taken off, in Europe and other places. It's huge now. It's making tremendous inroads all over the globe. What's nice is, you see a lot of Americans playing over there, and tons of Europeans over here. David Stern and his people deserve tons of credit. The other thing is, every place else, they're obsessed with soccer, and here, we're not.

Any sociological explanation for that?

I'm not sure. It's a good game. I enjoy it, but I don't get into it. I didn't grow up with it. When I was a kid, it was baseball, football, basketball, etc. It wasn't soccer, cricket, rugby. Some of the kids now grow up playing soccer, and maybe they'll become bigger fans.

What are the biggest similarities and differences between what you do for three hours a day and what someone working for our company, like a Chris Berman, does?

Basically, we do the same thing. Chris Berman has gotta be a conductor; he moves everything around. He brings out different points of view, and keeps people honest. When you're doing an interview and someone says something completely ridiculous, you gotta say, "What are you talking about?" I admire Chris Berman for what he does. Sports and news are both hard; you have to know A LOT about A LOT. These days, so many viewers are so connected, if you mess up something, you'll hear about it immediately.

Who's the best athlete living today?

Tiger. That's an easy one. I think it's funny a guy named "Wolf" likes a guy named "Tiger," too.

If you, Lou Dobbs, John King, Anderson Cooper, and Candy Crowley are playing basketball, who's slotted 1-5 and why?

Anderson's gotta be a guard. I gotta be a guard. Candy and John forwards. Lou Dobbs at the center position.

Any logic to that?

It's basically completely random (laughs). We're filling out a roster and seeing what works.

Your favorite sports movie of all-time?

Oh, there's a couple. A League of Their Own is great. So is Field of Dreams, and Bull Durham. You have to add Rocky. I also love The Natural. It was filmed at the stadium in Buffalo.


Does Animal House count as a sports movie? Because I'd probably add that. And Ferris Bueller's Day Off too.

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Anonymous said...

CNN primary coverage was outstanding.
Wolf, Anderson and Team CNN did not
disappoint. Everyone seemed to be having
fun. John King at the magic wall all day
long was awesome. He is even now able
to bring up video clips. I felt all night long
that CNN changed it's game plan More
Wolf, Anderson and John King at the board
and less of a circus with Lou Dobbs ranting.
I look forward to see those ratings later today.

Anonymous said...

Hey are you guys aware that CNN is now in
the mixx ? You will notice the icon on all CNN
stories and you can mixx your favs. Mixx is
like digg but I like it a little more. You have
to join for your votes to count.