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Friday, July 9, 2010

Your Views on the News, July 9, 2010

Jay Rosen's newest edition of 'The Politics Blog' for had 5 excellent suggestions for what CNN needs to do to fix its identity crisis and ratings woes.

1. Drop the chronic impartiality.

CNN is brain dead. They have worked themselves into an intellectual trap of having no particular point of view; they have convinced themselves that they can't become right-wing like Fox or left-wing like MSNBC. As Jon Stewart demonstrated, CNN airs a dispute in which one side may be insane — the earth is flat — but the anchors fail to explain who is right. They need to cure this problem of "leaving it there," because it's killing them — it's killing their brand, it's killing trust, it's lazy, it's superficial, and it's an audience loser.

2. Take a cue from The Daily Show.

They should figure out how to emulate Stewart, but without the comedy: pointing out the absurdity and hypocrisy of what people say across television broadcasts, calling out demagoguery, the misleading use of facts, and the people trying to confuse us. They need to call BS on our political system. They almost had it with No Bias, No Bull, but they changed the title back to just Campbell Brown. If they had carried through on that idea — especially the "no bull" part — they could have forged a real identity.

3. Don't give the audience what (you think) they want.

You can't know what the audience will accept until you try new things, but they refuse to try anything new. CNN, and many other journalists, cavalierly state that they know what viewers want based on past and current choices, but it's a narrow range of choices. No one knows what an audience wants ahead of time. (From Rosen's blog: "But I've got some ideas.")

4. Social media is more than a gimmick.

The importance of i-Report is a myth. It's useful when there's breaking news and CNN can't get a cameraman to the location, but I doubt that any producer at CNN considers it a central resource. A better use of citizen journalism would be an army of fact checkers and story spotters. That would be journalistically distinct. CNN wants to be first on the scene, but they don't want to be distinct. Being on Twitter and Facebook is responding to trends, but hasn't changed the idea of what they're doing.

5. A news channel should break news.

If CNN were doing kick-ass journalism and bringing new stuff to the national attention, and they were still in third place, that would be a different situation. But what are the big stories they've broken over the past few years? Safety first isn't going to get them there. It's the product of smug, self-satisfied programmers who think that balance is itself a demonstration of superior journalism. They need a pro-reality bias.

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Anonymous said...

For once CNN did something original.
Their recently hired contributor Phillipe Cousteau
and Amber Lyon and a brave photographer, who
literally swam with a shark, went diving into the
Gulf to see the oil spill up close and personal.
I like Amber Lyon's style of reporting and we
really need to see more of her on CNN.If that is
not real reporting I don't know what is. Only
one thing that bothered me at times was the
banners at the bottom. Sometimes CNN did
drop it but it should have been done all of the
time minus the crawl as well. That is as close
to real-time reporting as you can get. I look
forward to seeing Amber Lyon's reports.
CNN really should try and get something like
BBC Earth going if they are no longer doing
Planet In Peril.

Anonymous said...

CNN needs to stop letting Fox News control
and basically run CNN. CNN is afraid of Fox
& MSNBC is not. CNN is afraid of Fox while
MSNBC stands up to the man and says you
are not the boss of me.

Anonymous said...

I agree that hiring Philip Cousteau was a smart move, but how they use him is another thing. I don't know Amber Lyon but WHY didn't we get pictures of them swimming to see what they saw? Isn't that the purpose of photo-journalism. Leave to CNN to ruin it. Telling someone else is second hand.
I do think that CNN IS fearful of FOX. I really don't know why, but Fox is willing to try new things and CNN just isn't, or they just don't know how.
They're hiring Eliot Spitzer because Fox hired Palin. But Palin was hired as a contributor. They were smart enough to know that she could never anchor. Well, neither can Spitzer, CNN!

Anonymous said...

You had to like stick with it at times they did
have really great pictures. There were times
when the pictures were pretty clear and the
photography was simply amazing. Your are
right FNC knew not to give Palin a prime time
show, you just don't do that. The Spitzer hire
highlights the bad judgement of the CNN suits.
At least put him on the weekend before giving
Spitzer a major time slot. I also think that is
why MSNBC also said no to Spitzer.CNN has
painted itself into a corner and FNC and MSNBC
are standing by watching with glee. This is
puzzling as to how Spitzer had so much
power over CNN management to get what
he wants and he is not even a hot property
nor has the man even had a show on tv.

Anonymous said...

Amber Lyon would be a great replacement for
Erica Hill on 360.CNN should really try and get
something going with an adventurous group of
female journalists. There is Angela Sun who is
good at covering extreme sports. There is also
Nzinga Blake and Mariana Van Zeller along with
Lisa and Laura Ling.

Anonymous said...

CNN must realize what they have with regards to
talent. Wolf Blitzer,John Roberts and Don Lemon
and Candy Crowley are the experienced journalists
at the top of their game. Next up are Anderson
Cooper, John King, Dr. Gupta, Kyra Phillips,
Suzzane Malveaux and Fredericka Whitfield.
Next up is the next gen of journalists. TJ Holmes,
Kate Boldaun, Brooke Baldwin & Amber Lyon.
CNN has all of the right people they just need
a management team that realizes what they
have when it comes to journalism. Also, last
night on Campbell Brown there was a piece
from a producer on homeless teens in Denver.
CNN is also starting to highlight the work of
their photojournalists. Put all of these elements
together and you have a mix of various
styles of story telling and that is where CNN
needs to go. It's all about content, content
and content.A producer, writer, photojournalist
reporter and all of the people working for CNN
deserve the opportunity to see their work help
bring CNN back to where it needs to be.
Yes there are many others like Tom Foreman,
Rob Marciano and Reynolds Wolf and on and
on. The point is CNN has some great journalists.
There must be a free and independent press
not bound by ideology without limits. Let
them chase stories all around the world as
well as the interesting things you come
across that is unique to cities and states
in America.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, CNN did hire Amber Lyon.
Don Lemon welcomed her yesterday.
CNN is afraid of the right wing media
machine. For years the right has owned
CNN and forces them to hire too many
pundits and annoying people. CNN has
yet to figure out that the tea party turned
out to be nothing but conservative Republicans.
Yet this has been reported by USA Today and
Gallup. There is another glaring example of
how easy CNN is being manipulated by the

Anonymous said...

Now that CNN has hired two new photo journalists, Philip Cousteau and Amber Lyons, they must use utilize them effectively. CNN never knows what to do with their talent, and they come there to die or go to Fox, like Glen Beck and become a star.

Anonymous said...

CNN is blowing it big time. There are a few items
that highlight some problems for CNN. First, on
ICN they talk about how CNN misuses the magic
wall as opposed to the brand new magic wall at
FBN. You use the magic wall to enhance the news
experience for viewers not to make it so at times
you can't see the best video because it is squeezed
back and not highly visual and does not look good
on television. Just this morning CNN is trying to
show then and now with Haiti and it is getting lost
because CNN refuses to show full screen video.
It is not visually appealing and is extremely
annoying. CNN also must do something about
those intrusive graphics, it is too much. Take a
cue from HLN and have a single banner on a
continuous line. Video is being buried on CNN.
Secondly, Marketwatch has a great piece on
Rachel Maddow. That highlights why CNN needs
to really get away from the left vs right bickering.
CNN has to look like it is the voice of reason
and show it;'s journalists understand the news
stories they cover and quit relying on cheap
back and forth to fill time.TRMS reminds of
everything 360 used to be prior to the invasion
of the talking heads. This narrow scope of
thinking has led to CNN troubles. CNN has
more pundits than journalists way too many
times. It is not about pov and the news is
getting lost on CNN and they expect for
people to sit through hours of mindless
chatter that just does not work for tv. i am
so over CNN and find myself watching HLN
and MSNBC because it is not worth watching
most of CNN programs these days. The
pundits are a drag on John King as well
as having lead to the huge ratings drop
for Larry King. Just go over the data and
you will see that TRMS starting growing
when Larry King bought on 6 or 8 people
to do nothing but argue. People expect
better of CNN and that is why they are
loosing viewers.CNN is doing too much
talk and not focusing on the news, video
or actual reporting. Video is increasingly
disappearing from CNN and this is going
to lead to another ratings drop. CNN is
forgetting the basics. One of the basic
rules os broadcast journalism is using the
best video and letting viewers see it for
themselves. CNN seems to be suffering
from a big brother complex. They need to
realize the internet is the great equalizer
and is were you can see it all with out
someone practicing universal mind control.
You might try and minimize the video and
force the talking heads upon the viewers
but they don't have to take it. Later this
year depending on the show they will put
on before 360 CNN might force me to
remove 360 from my DVR. It starts recording
a few seconds before the start of 360 and
I don't want any sleaze on my DVR. Maybe
Amber can help bring some fresh air into
CNN's reporting but I am not holding my
breath.At least someone finally figured out
that CNN needs some reporters. I wonder
if some of her fellow backpacks will be
joining CNN as well.

Anonymous said...

In all this time how many suggestions have you gotten on this blog that have said: I want to see more celebrities like Sean Penn??
My guess, zero, nada.
Well, there he was again, big as day, acting like an ireporter for CNN, as AC took us through Penn's own missionary establishment in Haiti. What a humanitarian he is, and how good of him to extend a hand, and more than one, when it was time to "soak of the rays of limelite," when AC got his Presidential Award in LA two Sundays ago. One hand washes the other, as they say. Right on 360!
Pleaze someone give us all a break!
You don't NEED El Bimbo to get you ratings in Haiti. We want REAL JOURNALISTS!

Anonymous said...

I felt like putting this under "funny men look at CNN." TVN has just released a statement that Rick Sanchez is coming to primetime starting July 22, on CNN.
He will continue to do his afternoon show, from 3-5!
Trust me, this is a "try out" in this time slot to see what his ratings are like because they know Spitzer was a mistake, but so is RICK SANCHEZ!
Next, we'll read he'll be in line for LKL!

Anonymous said...

Rick Sanchez is not the answer for CNN.
Rick's List is a boring show and the ratings
are down 40 % in the 4 o'clock hour for CNN.
Sanchez will keep CNN in 4th for the hour.
File this under been there done that. CNN
should have temporarily gone with Suzanne
Malveaux since Rick Sanchez is helping make
CNN a laughing stock. It is Xmas in July for
the Factor and Countdown. Their ratings will
go up at the expense of CNN. this is proof
positive that CNN has no clue and no game
plan to actually fix the the network.

I see nothing wrong with AC talking with Sean
Penn. He has been on the ground in Haiti and
has been very active in the relief effort. Penn
walks the walk. By the way Sean Penn is a pretty
decent writer as well. He has written news
articles before. There is no denying that
Anderson Cooper is a real journalist.

Anonymous said...

CNN should go younger for the hour with
TJ Holmes.CNN needs a 30-something in
the prime time lineup to boost the demo.
Rachel is making a huge difference for MSNBC
and there is no denying TJ's million dollar
personality.CNN needs something new and
different for the hour. That is why MSNBC is
growing, there is nothing like Rachel Maddow
on tv. All CNN needs to do is develop a show
that fits Tj's personality.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:18 I agree with you and I am willing
to bet the Jon Klein will be finished a lot sooner
than we think. Rick Sanchez at 8 is another huge
mistake for CNN. C'mon CNN Ted Baxter in the
prime time lineup , don't you think your viewers
deserve better. Something is wrong at CNN at
CNN when one of the worst anchor's gets to
have a really bad show in prime time.I get the
feeling there is an atmosphere that says don't
let Jon Klein make any more decisions until we
figure out what to do to replace him and hire
someone with fresh ideas.I will be watching
HLN during the day and MSNBC at night and
I don't even like Keith on Countdown but I
just will not watch Rick Sanchez period.

Anonymous said...

@9:13AM: Thank you and I feel the same way about Piers Morgan taking over for Larry. He's a British snob who made it big on a "dance" program so is he qualified to be Larry?? Simon Cowell got him the job. I NEVER liked Cowell and I KNOW, from the Apprentice, I don't like Morgan. I would have felt better if they just hired Donald Trump. At least I respect him and he's not imported!

Anonymous said...

@7:36AM: This is the reason why CNN standards have been suit the taste of the masses. Let's do away with all the anchors and hire unemployed Hollywood actors and lets start with Mel.