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Monday, June 30, 2008
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Sunday, June 29, 2008
Last Sunday, I asked who you thought was the better American Morning coanchor. The votes have been ocunted and the results:
Kyra Phillips came out ahead with 69% of the votes.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment and vote in the poll!
Former CNN Newsnight anchor, Aaron Brown, is coming back to television on Tuesday, July 1st as the host of "Wide Angle," a weekly foreign affairs documentary series. PBS recently posted a short Q&A with him to their website. Here’s an excerpt of Five Good Answers from Aaron Brown:
What is your take on the news coverage in the run up to the invasion of Iraq?
This is such a complicated question I'm not sure this is the right place to kick it around. So let me just say this: I wish I had done better.
I don't think I did badly, that I made horrible editorial decisions, but I do think they could have been better, that skeptics could have appeared more often and (especially) received better placement in the program.
I think this is generally true in the business but I am a lot more comfortable talking about my own mistakes than others'.
But again, I do believe this whose coverage question is hugely important and very complex and just think there is a better forum than this to deal with its complexity.
What have you missed most since leaving daily broadcast journalism?
Less than I thought.
I miss the staff of course. The people I worked with at CNN were incredible.
For some reason, I missed reporting Virginia Tech. The presidential campaign, of course, has been great fun and great history. I'm not sure I have missed the day to day of it but there were days when it would have been a hoot.
That said, I really like the road life has taken me down and hardly sit around thinking about what I miss. I have far too much.
You're a journalist, but you're also a teacher. What is the single most important piece of advice someone has given you?
If the facts are wrong, the story fails, regardless.
It doesn't matter how well you wrote it, how pretty are the pictures, how wonderful is the editing and producing and all the rest. An error of fact fails the piece.
Below is a preview of Tuesday night’s program: Heart of Darfur: An eyewitness account of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
If you don’t have a local PBS station, you can view the program on PBS’ website after it airs.
On Wednesday, John Roberts filled in for Gerri Willis and Ali Velshi on Issue #1. During a news break, Don Lemon questioned if Roberts was up too late:
Also on Wednesday, Kyra Phillips ran into a glitch at the beginning of CNN Newsroom: no script & no teleprompter.
Even members of the best political team on television can get tongue tied over this year’s political season. Wolf Blitzer had fun describing a new politically themed soda.
And my last clip for tonight, Larry King had James Carville on the program and he showed a clip of Luke Russert doing a pretty good imitation of him.
One last item tonight… I found a few high resolution pictures of John King at Sen. Clinton’s June 7th concession speech. Photo credit: afagen. Click on the images to view at their full size.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Continuing its No. 1 ranking in total minutes for the 11th month in a row, the CNN Digital Network maintained the top spot among all News and Information properties. May also was a record-setting month for CNN.com in terms of international traffic as well as the number of online video streams served.
According to Nielsen Online, CNN Digital Network generated 1.3 billion gross usage minutes in May, establishing a powerful lead among other News and Information properties and finishing ahead of MSNBC Digital and the Weather Channel. With access to a variety of multimedia storytelling formats, including articles, video, photo galleries, interactives and user-generated content, more people spent more time on CNN.com than any other news and information site.
In May, CNN.com kept its global users informed of the latest developments surrounding two devastating natural disasters: the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China. During the month, Myanmar-related coverage generated more than 12.5 million page views; while reporting about the earthquake in China and the tens of thousands it affected received 9.9 million page views. (Source: Omniture SiteCatalyst, U.S. and International editions combined). CNN.com’s reporting on these tragic events yielded record traffic for its international edition.
Setting a record for its highest month ever, CNN.com served 116.7 million video streams, including nearly 4 million live streams from CNN.com Live, the network’s live, multi-stream video news service. These numbers also reflect strong growth for the international edition of CNN.com, where video usage is up 250 percent compared to this time last year. The Democratic National Committee rules meeting on May 5 regarding the fate of Florida and Michigan delegates and the Democratic primaries on May 31 for Indiana and North Carolina yielded the strongest days for CNN.com Live. (Source: Omniture SiteCatalyst, U.S. and International editions combined).
As a key component of CNN’s dedicated “Issue #1” coverage of the economy, CNNMoney.com – CNN’s exclusive business site and the online home of FORTUNE, MONEY and FSB: FORTUNE Small Business magazines – is up 16 percent year-to-date in total minutes versus the same period last year. It has also grown its unique visitor base by 20 percent year-to-date versus the same period last year according to Nielsen Online.
According to Nielsen Mobile, CNN Mobile remains the No. 1 mobile Internet news provider taking the top ranking for the 19th month in a row, with 8.2 million unique visitors.
CNN's legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, is a fountain of wisdom at times. This clip is from The Situation Room.
I'm in complete agreement with him about those June polls!
Toobin writes for the New Yorker, his most recent article starts off like this:
A sign inside the front door of Miami Velvet, a night club of sorts in a warehouse-style building a few minutes from the airport, states, “If sexual activity offends you in any way, do not enter the premises.” At first glance, though, the scene inside looks like a nineteen-eighties disco, with a bar, Madonna at high volume, flashing lights, a stripper’s pole, and a dancer’s cage. But a flat-screen television on the wall plays porn videos, and many clubgoers disappear into locker rooms and emerge wearing towels.
Not what you were expecting? The article is about Roger Stone who has been involved in Republican politics for several decades. The Dirty Trickster: Campaign tips from the man who has done it all follows Toobin as he interviews Stone and also provides several of Stone's "rules."
One more Jeffrey Toobin clip, this one also from The Situation Room. Wolf Blitzer is talking with Jack Cafferty, but keep an eye on Toobin who doesn't realize he's on the air.
One reminder, the poll that I posted on Sunday, What's Missing In The Morning? is still open. The question at hand: Who’s the better co-anchor on American Morning?
The poll is completely anonymous and it will be open for votes through noon (ET) on Sunday, June 29th. Results will be posted on Sunday night.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a full schedule for the next couple of weeks according to two CNN press releases.
CNN’s Fit Nation Team Steps Up to Build New Orleans Playground
CNN, Cox Communications Provide Money, Manpower to KaBOOM! to Fix Katrina-Damaged Playground
CNN and Cox Communications New Orleans recently made a contribution to KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that empowers communities to build playgrounds, to continue their long-term commitment to the renewal of the New Orleans community after Hurricane Katrina. CNN’s Fit Nation, a multi-platform initiative to stop obesity, will launch its first activity in 2008 at Pontiff Park in Metairie, La., to emphasize the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as the region continues its recovery from nearly three years ago.
As part of that contribution, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and other CNN employees will join volunteers from the community and Cox Communications New Orleans to rebuild the playground at Pontiff Park on Saturday, June 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (CT). The park design is based on drawings provided by children from the community who attended a KaBOOM! “Design Day” event in April.
Gupta will also tape House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta from the build site, interviewing local community leaders who come out to help. House Call is a program dedicated to the latest health and medical developments and airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 to 8 a.m. (CT).
“I had the opportunity to see the destruction Katrina caused first-hand while I was reporting from New Orleans after the hurricane,” Gupta said. “I’m glad that Fit Nation can contribute to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region by creating a space for the community to use in achieving an active lifestyle.”
Hurricane Katrina damaged the park when five feet of water covered the grounds for nearly two weeks. The new playground will provide more than 10,000 children annually with a place to play in Jefferson Parish.
Video excerpts of the build will appear on www.CNN.com/FitNation, which also includes an interactive special section featuring fitness success stories, tips for staying fit and weekly updates from Gupta and CNN’s medical unit.
The playground build marks the first Fit Nation activity in 2008. CNN’s Fit Nation initiative began in 2006 as an ongoing multi-platform initiative to stop obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles. Over the past two years, Fit Nation and Gupta have traveled across the country engaging people in their own communities to get more active and develop local programs to meet the challenges of being overweight. In July and August, the Fit Nation mobile tour will visit cities across the United States, including Dallas, Seattle, Minneapolis, Minn., and Columbus, Ohio.
CNN to Focus Spotlight on Saving World’s Children with Global Broadcast
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Anchors July 6 Special with UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu, Musician Joel Madden
CNN will focus a lens on the world’s children in harm’s way and examines child survival issues in-depth during its global broadcast, The Survival Project: One Child at a Time. Anchored by CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the special will focus on healthcare, education, water sanitation and protection from violence for children. UNICEF ambassador Lucy Liu and Good Charlotte musician Joel Madden join Gupta as panelists for the program and speak about their experiences with UNICEF. Following recent crises in Myanmar and China, CNN viewers moved by the devastating stories and images are looking for ways to help. In May, the month of the devastating natural disasters in both nations, the “Impact Your World” special section on CNN.com more than doubled the previous month’s page view numbers for users looking for information on how to help. Shot in high-definition television before an audience at the Alliance Theater inside Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, The Survival Project: One Child at a Time will premiere on Sunday, July 6, at 8 p.m. and will replay at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. All times Eastern. The broadcast will be simulcast on CNN and CNN International.
Clay Aiken, Dayle Haddon, Joel Madden, Ne-Yo, Nicole Ritchie, Al Roker, Marcus Samuelsson and Amare Stoudemire appear in special video diaries of their volunteer experiences and encourage viewers to help children around the world.
For the first time since the United Nations began tracking child mortality, the number of children who die each year before their fifth birthday has dropped below 10 million. Bringing the stories of these children to CNN viewers from four continents, Gupta and international correspondents Wilf Dinnick, Jill Dougherty and Dan Rivers will brief viewers on the challenges that remain to save more lives through the innovative works of organizations such as UNICEF. The United Nations Children’s Fund operates in more than 150 countries in an effort to reduce the child mortality rate everywhere.
Gupta will report on the 1,500 children who live with HIV/AIDS in Peru, as well as those orphaned by the disease. From Laos, Rivers will report on the impact of the second largest worldwide killer of children under age five – a lack of clean drinking water. Dougherty will report from Baghdad on children who have been displaced due to war and conflict. Dinnick will report from Ethiopia on how vaccinations and nutritional supplements are saving the lives of children and pregnant women.
ATC sends belated birthday wishes to Rob Marciano who celebrated his birthday on Wednesday June 25th.
Time for clips from CNN programming this week.
Betty Nguyen, TJ Holmes and Fredricka Whitfield during Saturday's News Room discussed the possibility of clothing optional newscast.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
1. When did you decide that you wanted to be a journalist? What attracted you to this professional? If journalism wasn't your initial career goal, what was?
Nguyen: I initially planned on becoming an attorney but, after working at a law office in high school, I realized it just wasn’t for me. What I did enjoy – were my classes in debate and drama – and we all know TV news has a lot of both. I also had a passion for writing. So once the idea of becoming a journalist crossed my mind, there was no turning back. I was sold.
2. What was your big break (or are you still waiting for it)?
Nguyen: So far, CNN has been my big break. I didn’t even apply at the network. Here’s how it happened: I was leaving a job fair at a journalism convention in San Diego when I passed by the CNN booth. The Talent Director asked if I had a resume tape and luckily I had one left. I handed it to him and headed out the door, not thinking anything would come of it. A few months later, he called while I was working for the CBS affiliate in Dallas and asked if I wanted to audition for CNN. That was an easy answer.
3. Who was your mentor?
Nguyen: There have been numerous people throughout my career who’ve given me guidance like college professors, newsroom managers, and other journalists. I’ve never been shy about asking for advice.
Vino Wong/AAJA Atlanta
4. What's on your iPod? What's in your Netflix queue? What was the last book you read (or the one that you're currently reading)?
Nguyen: Estelle, Mary J, Kanye…Dave Matthews, Robin Thicke, John Legend. It varies but the majority is R&B and rap. I don’t get Netflix, VOD, or anything of that. Honestly, I rarely have time for a movie. However, I did finish reading The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and I’ve started on Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.
5. Please tell us a little about the off camera Betty. Your family, hobbies, favorite authors, favorite episodic television, things in your life that you are the most proud of, etc.
Nguyen: When I’m not working, I’m usually on a plane somewhere. I love to travel. Whether it’s Phuket, Cabo, Montego Bay or Nha Trang – I haven’t met a beach I didn’t like. I also try to spend time with my family in Texas. My little sister is still in high school so I make a point to get home as often as I can. There’s not much time for TV shows. I’ll catch a few episodes of Lost or Brothers & Sisters every now and then. I used to make a point to watch 24 but Jack Bauer seems to be MIA. These days I dedicate a lot of my free time to Help the Hungry, a non-profit my family and I founded to assist poverty-striken families. Right now, we’re gearing up for a humanitarian aid trip to Vietnam later this summer.
6. You have made it a life mission to give back to your homeland. Can you tell us a bit about the charity work you support?
Nguyen: When my Mother and I returned to Vietnam for the first time since fleeing the war, the poverty, hunger and despair was still very evident. I couldn’t help but think that could be me. In the rural areas of Vietnam, families have little more than grass huts with dirt floors and hardly enough food to survive. Combine that with the annual monsoons and the destruction is both devastating and deadly. Something had to be done. Help the Hungry is the result of a simple passion to assist those in need by providing food, clothing, medicine and other basic essentials. But here’s the beauty of it – the people we help are the ones who give a much greater gift to our volunteers and donors. We’re able to see, first hand, the smiles of a hungry child, tears of joy from worried parents, and relief in the eyes of the elderly. Help the Hungry’s mission is more than just delivering aid, it’s about experiencing life in a meaningful way. If you’d like more information, please go to http://www.help-the-hungry.org/.
7. What's your favorite must have gadget?
Nguyen: My blackberry. I feel lost without it. There has to be some kind of treatment for this problem.
Vino Wong/AAJA Atlanta
8. Live television can be unpredictable- can you tell us about an on air moment that didn't go quite as planned or went awry?
Nguyen: Can be unpredictable? It’s often unpredictable. That’s what makes it both fun and frustrating. One of the more memorable moments happened during breaking news. I was about to do an interview with a foreign official. With just seconds to spare, I was still waiting to hear how to say this person’s last name. It was spelled Dikshit. Now that’s one you don’t want to mispronounce.
9. What's been your most difficult assignment as a journalist to date?
Nguyen: I remember holding a small child who got lost during Hurricane Katrina. Every time a young woman walked by, she held out her arms and cried “Momma”. I later learned her mother was just 13 years old. So essentially, you had a lost child looking for a lost child. I also don’t think I’ll ever forget my assignment in Sierra Leone, Africa – the world’s poorest country. I met people who had both arms hacked off by rebels during a decade of civil war. They were so eager to have a voice in their country’s Presidential election that one man showed me how he planned on voting with his toes.
10. If you could pick one story from history to cover, what would be your dream story be?Nguyen: Looking back through history, there are many stories that have had a profound effect on our lives. But personally, I would not be where I am today had my family not fled to the U.S. as Saigon was falling to communism. Too young to remember any of it, I would love to document my mother’s harrowing journey. Like thousands of others, she faced heart-wrenching decisions and harsh conditions in order to give her family a shot at freedom and opportunity in a place called America.
11. What is your guilty pleasure?
Nguyen: I don’t splurge on much but I’m a sucker for designer handbags.
12. Where is your favorite place in the entire world to vacation?
Nguyen: I couldn’t possibly pick just one. There’s just so much out there to see that I try not to vacation in the same place twice. Some of my favorite cities include:
Cape Town, South Africa
Thank you so much to Betty for taking the time to answer our questions. It's really a great treat for our favorite CNN personalities to give us a peek behind the scenes.
If you have any requests or suggestions for future q & a's please email us at email@example.com. ~Phebe
CNN's John King & Dana Bash were married on May 25, 2008 at the Wequassett Inn in Cape Cod. We came across this beautiful video from the special day.
Congratulations, John & Dana!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
This week, FOX is back on top during the 8PM and 9PM hours. CNN took the 10PM hour for the week.
Friday night, CNN had interesting ratings. They were second behind MSNBC during the 9PM hour, won the demo during the 10PM hour, and came in a close second behind FOX during the 11PM hour. But the percentage of viewers Adult 25 - 54 compared to total viewers was high.
- 9PM hour: 48%
- 10PM hour: 45%
- 11PM hour: 52%
^ Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Demographics where noted; Live + Same Day (LS) Fast Track Nationals.
The poll that I posted in my Sunday night post, What's Missing In The Morning? is still open. The question: Who’s the better co-anchor on American Morning?
The poll is completely anonymous and it will be open for votes through noon (ET) on Sunday, June 29th. I’ll post the final results in Sunday night’s post.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Barely four hours in our hotel and we discover the Taliban have issued a direct threat against it, starting that day for the next 48 hours. Such is the credible weight of their propaganda these days that we quickly move out.Rumors we quickly discover are rife. One of the latest doing the rounds is that Westerners are now targets for kidnappers. For money or political zeal, whatever wind was in my sails when I blew in to town is rapidly emptying.Was the threat real? We don’t know. The 48 hours are up and the hotel hasn’t blown up yet.