CNN In The AM: Less Chat, More Snap?

Just the facts, CNN. The new overall strategy for CNN seems to be more news, less banter. 

The goal? Perhaps to report and break lots of news, giving viewers a good reason to come back ... all to save some time, keeping the personal rap to a minimum.

To be fair, banter and opinions from pundits, politicians, and analysts does help give perspective and context to news stories. But this perspective can always be melded into news content under the category that newspapers have had for years: News analysis.

The initial nuts and bolts of CNN's new direction were announced by Mark Thompson, now chairman/CEO of CNN Worldwide, in a recent memo to CNN's staff concerning changes to morning programming.

CNN will be expanding “Early Start” to run from 5–7 a.m. ET. It will continue to be anchored as now by Kasie Hunt in Washington, DC, and produced in Atlanta. “CNN News Central” --  John Berman, Kate Bolduan and Sara Sidner -- will move up to 7 a.m. and will run it until 10 a.m. ET., with production continuing to be based in Atlanta. Overall, Thompson says this means “we will no longer produce morning programming in New York.”



All this comes from Thompson, a former BBC News executive, who was recently brought in to revamp the network. We hope he goes further.

What TV Watch loves about any BBC News programming is the no BS attitude that anchors and reporters can have when interviewing politicians/government officials in  discussions of any serious topic.

Reporters and anchors will regularly interrupt and stop guests from pontificating, changing the subject, or making diversions.

If CNN can do this, especially with those who are in officials in positions of power, they will be doing good work.

What this will look like? Maybe more like NPR's “Morning Edition” -- with video. “Morning Edition” news is nicely paced with easy talk moving from one segment to another, all with minimal banter.

Thompson says: “What we are announcing today is a change in strategic direction and not a reflection on the talent, expertise and dedication of the New York based editorial production and operations teams.” 

And that direction seems to be in a straight line to truth and facts. 

2 comments about "CNN In The AM: Less Chat, More Snap?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 7, 2024 at 1:24 p.m.

    And a straight line to even lower average minute ratings?

    When will the leadership at CNN learn that the early AM news  shows are one of the two key time slots for frequent news viewers---where they get a quick and timely fix on what has recently happened. The second being prime time---more or less starting around 7PM---where they get not just another rehash of what they already know but much hotter and opinionated commentaries about what it all means.

    It's all well and good to cut the idle---and opinionless banter----I agree with that. But pumping out more  "pure" news isn't going to work as most of the time the news is a ho- hummer--few viewers are going to stick around for dose after dose of it.

    With so many "news" sources available to most consumers---a far cry from the situation in in the pre- internet and pre-cable days---you must offer more than just endless repetition to create a frequent viewing bond with audiences. CNN has consistantly failed to understand---and do---that. As a result the average CNN viewer views the network about half as many times as those who watch Fox and MSNBC and when they watch, the CNN viewers devote less dwell time to CNN's lackluster content. Which is why there is such a huge disparity between the average minute ratings of the three cable contenders. Yet all three news channels reach the same kinds of people-demographically so that's not the reason for CNN's "problem".

    The answer is staring CNN's execs in the face. In the early AM its competition presents mostly opinions and commentary--- plus the latest news. Ditto for MSNBC. So each of CNN's rivals attracts viewers who agree with their point of view. Meanwhile, CNN drones on and on, presenting "just the facts Maam".  Boring. The same issue applies to prime time---in spades. Two news channels are, in effect, advocating for either the left or the right, but not CNN, which takes no position---and as a result has few loyal viewers.

  2. Ben B from Retired, February 7, 2024 at 7:40 p.m.

    CNN changing the chairs in the morning once again and they'll do it again next year since it isn't doing good in the ratings.

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