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Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts 2009

CNN posted some Thanksgiving Thoughts from John King, Candy Crowley, and Paul Begala on the Political Ticker last week:

CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley: “Always and forever I am most grateful for my healthy, amazing, wise children who teach me things everyday. I am also grateful it is not an election year, and I'm not celebrating Thanksgiving in a hotel covering a recount or a transition.”

CNN Anchor John King: “I'm most thankful for the love and support of my wife and two remarkable children. And grateful for the opportunity to visit 45 states in the past 11 months and meet so many wonderful people.”

Democratic strategist and CNN Political Analyst Paul Begala: “This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful for America's military families. I never even finished the Boy Scouts, much less wore the uniform. But I am keenly aware that I owe my freedom to the men and women who have served in the past and who serve today.

"I married an Army brat. Her mother and father raised four children while moving over a dozen times to bases across America and in Europe. Twice my father in law was deployed to Viet Nam. He served with honor and distinction – and he would be the first to tell you his service would not have been possible without the support of his wife and children.

“So to every military mom and dad, every service spouse, and every child who has to move every year or two; who has to soldier on at home while a loved one risks life and limb abroad, I say thank you. About one percent of Americans bear the burden of defending the other 99 percent of us. So on behalf of the 99, thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Source: Political Ticker, November 26, 2009, Thanksgiving thoughts from Washington and beyond

Staying with the holiday spirit (and one of my personal holiday favorites), CNN's Melissa Long takes a behind the scenes look at the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

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Christiane Amanpour Hosts Awards Ceremony

Christiane Amanpour hosted the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2009 International Press Freedom Awards ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Here's the article from Africa News.

Hosted by Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent and a member of the CPJ board, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hall in New York, USA, the ceremony highlighted the impunity in journalist murders, the recent killings of Philippine journalists, and the Internet’s emerging role in press freedom.

One of the two African awardees, Tunisian Naziha Réjiba, is the editor of the independent online news journal Kalima. She has been the target of continual government intimidation and harassment.

Her home is under constant surveillance, her phones are monitored, and she has been summoned for repeated police interrogations. “I am neither a hero nor a victim,” she told the crowd at the awards ceremony, “but a journalist who wishes to work under normal conditions. The degree of repression in Tunisia is such that it transforms normal activities into something exceptional.”

Mustafa Haji Abdinur, Somalia correspondent for Agence France-Presse, AFP, and editor-in-chief of the independent radio station Radio Simba, told journalists about the danger he faces reporting in one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists.

“This year alone, six of my colleagues have been killed in Somalia. That makes it the deadliest country in Africa for journalists. No one has had to answer for their deaths,” he said.

“Friends, if a journalist is killed the news is also killed. We need your support now more than ever before. Please don’t forget us.”

About 800 people attended the benefit dinner, which raised more than $1.3 million.
Earlier, Amanpour opened the evening highlighting impunity in the cases of murdered journalists.

Two other awardees from Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka respectively, could not attend the ceremony because of their ongoing imprisonments.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

John King and Dana Bash Speak at Montclair State University

John King and Dana Bash pictured above with Bash's father Professor Stuart Schwartz (on left) and Marc Rosenweig (on right) spoke Montclair State University. Click here for the article from the University News along with additional photos.

On November 23, 2009, around 60 students from the Department of Broadcasting’s “Introduction to Broadcasting” and “Media Ethics” courses were treated to a special visit from CNN journalists John King and Dana Bash. Invited by Broadcasting Professor Stuart Schwartz, a veteran ABC news producer and Bash’s father, the two journalists shared career advice and answered questions for the students.

“Our goal with having Dana and John here today is to give us a sense for how things operate in the real world—in a working newsroom,” said Schwartz as he introduced King and Bash to the students gathered in the DuMont Television Center. He commented that although there have been many changes in the business, and the way in which news is delivered, there is still a demand for it. “People are still hungry for information,” he said.

Bash, CNN’s senior political correspondent covering Capitol Hill, has spent her entire 16-year broadcast career at CNN. She spoke about her start in the business in the Tape Library of CNN working as a field producer, and about even earlier internships. “The most that I learned about what I wanted to do—and not do—was at my internships,” she told the students.

Bash and King, who were married in 2008, were also candid about the difficulties of balancing their work and personal lives. “It’s tough,” admitted Bash. “I’m on air Monday through Friday and John is on air on the weekends. We don’t have a day off together.”

As the host of CNN’s popular Sunday morning talk show, “State of the Union with John King,” King is already a well-known figure in broadcast journalism but he will likely become even better known soon. He has been tapped to host a new primetime program beginning in early 2010 that will take over the time slot formerly held by Lou Dobbs and his program, “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

Acknowledging the changes going on in the industry, King told the students, “It’s a scary time on one hand, but if I was you, I’d be excited. Technology is making news more accessible and understandable.” In discussing technology, he told them “You’re lucky, you are using some of the same equipment we use at the newsroom.”

In addition to technological skills, both journalists stressed the importance of writing to the students. “It’s all about writing,” said King, who started his career as a print journalist for the Associated Press. “I can’t underscore enough the importance of writing.”

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

2010 An Evening with Larry King and Friends Gala

The Larry King Cardiac Foundation has announced that their annual gala will be held on March 6, 2010 at the The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. The 2010 An Evening with Larry King and Friends Gala will feature a special performance by Aretha Franklin. For more details and to order tickets, visit The Larry King Cardiac Foundation's website.

Photo Credit: Larry King Cardiac Foundation 2008 Gala

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Friday, November 27, 2009

CNN's Heroes for 2009

all images courtesy of CNNIn a star-studded award ceremony held on Saturday, November 21st at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre, Efren Penaflorida of the Philippines was named the 2009 CNN HERO OF THE YEAR, after nearly three million votes were cast at Actress Eva Mendes introduced Penaflorida (pronounced Pen-ya-flow-REE-duh) as one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes; host Anderson Cooper announced Penaflorida as the CNN HERO OF THE YEAR at the end of the evening, after a powerful performance by Grammy Award-winning recording artist Carrie Underwood.
Penaflorida was voted CNN HERO OF THE YEAR from among the Top 10 CNN HEROES, who were all honored at Saturday’s event. Celebrity presenters included Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Neil Patrick Harris, Pierce Brosnan, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Randy Jackson. Underwood, Leona Lewis, and Maxwell each performed.CNN HEROES: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE, hosted by Cooper, aired globally on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Espanol on Thanksgiving, November 26, at 9 pm. The CNN HEROES gala is the only awards show of its kind – featuring celebrities honoring everyday people who have made an extraordinary difference in their communities and beyond.Ten years ago, Efren Penaflorida faced a choice so many impoverished teens in the Philippines confront: life in a gang. When a gang member challenged him to a fight, Penaflorida walked away and embraced his education, promising to create a positive alternative for other children to build a better life. Through his organization, Dynamic Teen Company, Penaflorida created a pushcart classroom to bring education to the most forgotten children in the country. The gangs start recruiting early and so does Penaflorida. Every Saturday, he pushes the cart to different sites across the city: the cemetery, the municipal trash dump, and the deplorable housing conditions. He brings reading, writing, and arithmetic to the children. He gives them a place to sit and learn in peace. He teaches them basic hygiene – washing their faces and brushing their teeth.
Since 1997, he has taught more than 1,700 students with nearly 12,000 members in his organization, showing the youngsters that they, too, have a choice. They can reject the gangs, embrace their education and “be the change that they dream.” Peñaflorida hopes to create an international movement for pushcart classrooms in underdeveloped parts of the world.The CNN HEROES initiative, which began in 2007, garnered a record number of submissions this year (over 9,000) as well as a record number of online votes (nearly 3 million). The Top 10 CNN Heroes were selected by an esteemed Blue Ribbon Panel, which included Colin Powell, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Turner, Shakira, Rosanna Rosado, Mariane Pearl, Malaak Compton-Rock, and Sir Elton John, among other humanitarians.
Here are two candid shots of this year's nominees:

Here are a few images of CNN's 2009 Heroes with their celebrity presenters:

And some candid shots of the evening:

Congratulations to Efren Penaflorida and to the CNN Heroes and to all who strive to make a difference.

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Coverage of Presidential Address

From mediabistro's FishbowlDC, some details on Tuesday's coverage of President Obama's address concerning the new Afghanistan policy:

Coverage Plans: President Obama's Tuesday Address

CNN: Wolf Blitzer, joined by CNN's Campbell Brown, Anderson Cooper, John King, Christiane Amanpour, Fareed Zakaria and senior political analysts Gloria Borger and David Gergen, will anchor the cabler's live coverage beginning at 8pmET. "360" will air live at 10pmET and "Larry King Live" will air live at midnight.

(Definitely hoping that they add Michael Ware to that list!)

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Arwa Damon: Saving Sumatra's Orangutans

CNN's Arwa Damon reports on attempts to save the orangutans in Sumatra.

Sumatra, Indonesia (CNN) -- A loud crack echoes throughout the canopy as two young orangutans come tumbling down, grasping at branches along the way to break their fall. They recover and sheepishly scamper back up.

This is lesson one of jungle school here in the forests of central Sumatra, one of the few places where orangutans are being successfully rehabilitated into the wild.

"They have to learn that their whole environment is completely different from the cage," says Peter Pratje of the Frankfurt Zoological Society. "They have to learn that branches and small trees -- the size of bars in the cage -- don't carry them any longer. They bend and break."

"During the first phase of this jungle training, they are very often falling out of the trees because they use rotten branches."

... to continue reading & to view a slideshow of pictures taken at the refuge: Saving orangutans before extinction in Sumatra.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks to Lori for the art

The All Things CNN crew wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving
(wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall at this Thanksgiving feast)!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Larry King's Son To Host Own TV Show

Looks like Larry King won't be the only one in the family to host his own show... one of his sons will be hosting a program on FOX Sports Net next year.

Getting a job in radio is child's play to Larry King's 10-year-old son -- because the kid just landed a phat TV job hosting a sports show on FOX Sports Net.

Larry tells TMZ Chance King recently penned a deal to host an upcoming TV show called "Kid Pitch" -- which revolves around youngsters shooting the breeze about all things baseball ... plus interviews with Major League Baseball players.

The show is set to start filming in February of next year -- and due to Chance's school schedule, we're told he'll have to hightail it to the set after his school day wraps.

We're also told Larry's 9-year-old son Cannon will make occasional appearances on the program -- which will be directed by "Best Damn Sports Show Period" alum Tom Arnold.

Source: TMZ: Larry King's Son Scores a TV Gig

Photo credit: AP

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Partisan Pen Colors

US News and World Report's Paul Bedard had an interesting observation about James Carville and Mary Matalin's appearance on CNN's State of the Union with John King on Sunday:

They are such opposites in politics, clashing so often on candidates and policies, that it's not crazy to wonder if James Carville and Mary Matalin's show isn't just an act. After all, how can two people who disagree on almost everything political—to the degree of working against each other—have what they and their friends call a strong marriage?

Well, yesterday on CNN's State of the Union, the degree of both their differences and their warmth toward each other was on stage. And the details suggested that it's not just a show. Take the pens both used to take notes. Republican Matalin's was red. Democrat Carville's was blue. And CNN tells Whispers that they didn't plan it that way.

Then, after a tussle over Sarah Palin, Carville reacted sweetly when his wife noted that the controversial Newsweek cover shot of Palin in her jogging outfit at least showed a good-looking politician. "You can agree on this," said Matalin. "She looked good in it, right?" Without hesitation, he said, "She does. Ain't no doubt about that. You and her are the two best-looking women in the Republican Party."

Source: US News & World Report, Washington Whispers, November 23, 2009

CNN has posted the video clip of the discussion: Strategists Size Up Palin:

Matalin's column about Palin's book (mentioned in the video clip), can be found on Sarah Palin's publishing and political worlds in collision

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New Larry King Live Promo

Ever wonder who does CNN's promos? The latest Larry King Live promo is being done by Engine Room. Here's what they had to say about it:

Engine Room tapped by the creatives at CNN On-Air to produce its Fall Season image spot for Larry King Live.

The spot highlights the stature of the broadcast icon, with a unique behind-the-scenes view of his legendary, Los Angeles-based news studio.

Collaborating with CNN On-Air to produce the spot demonstrates perfectly the level of trust and excellence for which Engine Room in known.

Leaving no room for error, the tight schedule for the shoot was timed out to the minute.

Engine Room seamlessly coordinated with CNN show producers and technicians gaining unparalleled access to film inside the actual Larry King Studio just hours before the show went on air.

By the time the star arrived the multi-camera HD shoot jumped into gear.

When the cameras finally cut, Larry King exclaimed, "That was the easiest shoot I have ever done!"


Here's a glimpse at the promo:

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jobs Wanted

The NY Post is reporting that Lou Dobbs staff, rumored to be the largest at CNN, are being told that if they want to stay with the cable channel they will need to start applying for new jobs. Currently Dobb's old staff is producing the temporary replacement, "CNN Tonight" which will run until John King's new show begins after the first of the year. King's new night time program will originate in Washington, DC. Dobbs and his staff were based in NYC.
There is no word on if CNN will find spots for Dobb's regular correspondents, Kitty Pilgrim and Bill Tucker.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fareed Zakaria to be Keynote Speaker for Pratham USA

Fareed Zakaria will be the keynote speaker at the annual Pratham tri-state gala.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

HLN Black Friday Programming Note

Programming Note:

On Friday, November 27, 2009, HLN will air Clark Howard from 6 AM - 7 AM ET. (Instead of the regularly scheduled programming, Morning Express with Robin Meade.)

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Ed Henry Interviews President Obama in Beijing

CNN's Senior White House Correspondent, Ed Henry interviewed President Barack Obama in Beijing. Henry asked the President about:

  • his half brother's new book
  • visiting 20 countries in the first year of his Presidency
  • being able to get things done (domestically & abroad)
  • the 9/11 civil prosecutions
  • troop levels in Afghanistan
  • does he trust President Hamid Karzai
  • why isn't the President more like LBJ?
  • the bank bailouts *ireport question*
  • Palin's book & whether the President plans on running for re-election

Beijing, China (CNN) -- A little more than a year after his election, President Obama said his administration has laid the groundwork for success on global and domestic matters.

"I think that we've restored America's standing in the world, and that's confirmed by polls," he told CNN's Ed Henry in a wide-ranging interview this week during his trip to China.

"I think a recent one indicated that around the world, before my election, less than half the people -- maybe less than 40 percent of the people -- thought that you could count on America to do to the right thing. Now it's up to 75 percent."

The president said that makes it easier for world leaders to cooperate with the United States, noting Chinese and Russia involvement in nuclear talks with Iran.

Obama has visited 20 countries during his first year in office, more than any other U.S. president.

... to continue reading, Obama: 'We've restored America's standing'

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Candy Crowley & Her New Look

The LA Times' James Rainey spoke to Candy Crowley about her weight loss for an article that appeared in the On The Media secion of the paper's website. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

The blogosphere has been awash for months, I discovered, in other incisive speculation about CNN's senior political correspondent: She must have had a face-lift. No, it had to be gastric bypass. One genius wanted to know if she would change her name to Salad Crowley.


Yet even we who admire Crowley couldn't help but notice the change. In the aftermath of a brutal two-year presidential campaign siege, one of the top political reporters on television looks slimmer, healthier, even a little more serene.

When I first contacted her, Crowley wasn't at all sure she wanted to talk about this. I couldn't blame her for worrying that all the hoo-ha might distract from what she does best.

With a slight chuckle, she said: "It's stunning to me that something I consider so separate and apart from what I do for a living has taken up so much space in some people's thoughts. I am a hard-news journalist. That is what I do."


So here it is, straight up and on the record: There has been no Lap-Band. No gastric bypass. No surgery at all. Rather, Crowley said, she has been dieting, swimming and working out, sometimes with a trainer, since last December.

And, in a change she thinks has made the biggest difference, she has taken up Transcendental Meditation. A couple of times a day, Crowley escapes her break-neck schedule to settle into what the TM website describes as a "natural state of restful alertness."

"I feel great physically. I feel really good," the newswoman told me Tuesday. "I'm lighter now in a lot of ways."


"With the election over, if I can borrow from Anderson Cooper, I wanted to take a 360-degree look at my life and say 'What would make it better,' " Crowley said. "That may sound touchy-feely, but that's what I did."

Operating in a world of furious motion, Crowley had the sense to seek out stillness.

While others have focused on her appearance, Crowley said "this is about the weight and it isn't." Meditation has meant greater equanimity and health gains that "have held together in a way they haven't held together before."

Still, even her mother wants a number. Just how much has she lost?

"I told her, 'You know I don't have a scale in this house,' " Crowley said. "It's important to know what motivates you, not what motivates somebody else."

The flood of messages and blog postings about the "new" Candy Crowley continues to say something disturbing about a society trained to a beauty queen norm. But the newswoman feels encouraged by the fans expressing solidarity, not just with her weight struggles, but with the way she presents herself to the world.

"That's one reason I thought I should go ahead and recognize that this discussion was going on," she said. "I really appreciate what those people have been saying to me, some really heartfelt things."

... to read the full article: CNN's Candy Crowley talks about her new look

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