Atlanta, GA—CNN joined Cable TV with a bang, but today it whines and whimpers. Today CNN is on a death march to Hell because they have traded news reporting for public relations for the Democratic Party and the Obama Administration.
We must face the fact that every broadcaster wants to turn their news organization into a bully pulpit with a political agenda. No matter how subtle they try to make it, the agenda glares right through, sending half of the audience scrambling to their remote controls. The way to keep 100% of the audience is by avoiding politicization of the news.
CNN is personality driven chatter disguised as news. To survive, CNN needs to simply try raw news for a change. Real news reporting requires being first on the scene of every breaking story broadcasting video with interviews of newsmakers.
I’d ditch the personalities and replace them with a team of sharp assignment desk jockeys that can introduce each story they’re working on to the viewers. No opinions, no chitchat, just field reporting with video of news and newsmakers interviews. Field reporting beats mindless anchor babble anytime.
CNN needs to recruit a force of trustworthy and capable freelance reporters around the world that have sufficient camera and editing skills they can assign to gather the news and quickly report it. Today everything needed to report live news is inexpensive and can easily fit into the smallest of cars or even motorcycles.
The video journalist or what’s been called a one-man band is the model. Many freelancers can grab a friend or family member to help with lights and such.
The freelance reporters should be able to call in and pitch their own assignments to the assignment desk. When the assignment desk learns of breaking news he or she needs to get a team or at least someone competent out to handle the story.
Overpriced but pretty newsreaders sitting sometimes more than a 1000 miles away hearing the material most often third hand are the least qualified to comment on breaking news.
The importance is to get the information out quickly rather than have a pretty face redundantly tell us how sad, shocking, funny or troubling the story is that’s being reported.
Of course there are stories we call packages that don’t have the urgency of live news. They can be assigned and brought in to fill between breaking stories.
There are loads of unemployed or underemployed journalists all over the globe because of all the layoffs. Giving them let’s say $2000.00 per story would insure they would want to cover the news. They also need to keep their cameras and equipment up to reasonable state of the art standards.
The live shots should consist of assignment desk jockeys asking questions to their reporters in the field. This may not seem pretty to some news director types but the grittiness of breaking news all the time would bring excitement and something worth watching to the viewers.
With respect to what we call special projects they can still be done but without the celebrity anchor royalty weighing down the stories. Political gabfests can still happen when real news slows down such as on the weekends.
Nasty weather always leads in importance and sometimes sports. These are best left alone except that more live reports from storm chasers are needed.
The assignment desk areas and reporters cubicles should replace the ridicules news sets and anchor thrones. Perhaps the time has come for opening the editorial meetings to cameras. The public would love to see what drives the news gathering efforts.
Can anyone even imagine transparency of a news operation? Aside from protecting news sources there should be no secrets. Remember its journalists that always complain about the lack of transparency, lets put the shoe on the other foot for a change.
As for reporting high profile court trials they should be packaged and reported on four times per day with the exception of verdicts and important breaking news related to each trial. All those trial pundits truly suck and need to be banished from the earth.
The new approach to news is to take many more interesting local breaking news stories and making them national. A supermarket shooting, a horrible highway accident, police chase, a nasty fire or the arrest of some con artist fleecing the elderly is always more interesting than watching mindless anchor babble.