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McCall

McCall

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Published by madelineryan

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Published by: madelineryan on Jul 05, 2012
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07/05/2012

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CNN disappearing from journalism landscape
 By Jeffrey M. McCall, professor of communicationDePauw UniversityGreencastle, Indiana The rearranging of deck chairs is underway at CNN as the flailing andformerly prestigious news organization tries to reverse its ongoingratings slide into irrelevance. CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, isdemanding better results and a better bottom line from the cablechannel that was once synonymous with broadcast news immediacy andprofessionalism. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes was quoted saying he is “clearly notsatisfied” with CNN’s dismal ratings and promised changes. Themovement got going with the recent announcement that “John King,USA” is being canceled at the 6 p.m. slot, removing the longtimepolitical reporter from his signature show. King’s ratings had dropped off the table with fewer than 300,000 viewers on some evenings. Bycontrast, Bret Baier’s “Special Report” on Fox News Channel normallydraws 2 million. CNN’s ratings troubles are found throughout the day. Round-the-clockviewership is down more than 20 percent in the last year, even with ageneral election year underway. Prime-time viewership this springaveraged less than 400,000 on some nights, with Anderson Cooper’sshow losing a fourth of its audience and Piers Morgan’s show more thanthat. It has been more than 20 years since so few people watched CNNin prime time. The morning shows struggle as well. “Starting Point” with SoledadO’Brien at 7 a.m. averages less than a quarter million viewers per day.O’Brien gets no help from the “Early Start” program that precedes hershow, because hosts Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin have evenlower numbers. CNN is trying to fix “Early Start” with the addition of former ABC reporter John Berman, who will join a crowded anchor table. CNN was once the go-to place for news hounds, and it certainly helpedcreate the 24-hour news cycle. The channel distinguished itself coveringbreaking news and especially shined during history-making stories suchas the Challenger disaster, Tiananmen Square protests and Gulf Wars.It provided thoughtful news discussion at times other than Sundaymorning. CNN’s world changed when media mega-giant Time Warnertook it over from Ted Turner in 1996. From then on, CNN was just one

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