CNN Digital Studios: Future of News?

This week brought the debut of the Hambycast, a weekly series through the lens of CNN’s Peter Hamby. The digital episode has Hamby on the ground, talking to regular people and Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) as the Governor tours the nation in preparation for an expected 2016 presidential run. The report is short, roughly two minutes, and devoid of punditry. It’s a return to old school journalism thanks to new age technology.

CNN Digital Studios co-produced the Hambycast and also makes other bite-size news reports. In several ways, watching CNN’s video page is like viewing video news of the future. Short, informative, and interesting. For the viewer’s convenience, the next video starts right up, almost like one is binge-watching on Hulu or Netflix. Although, I can’t say I’m all too eager for a future of a two minute video then a thirty second advertisement. That seems a bit much, especially if the advertisements are irreverent or repeating frequently.

Television news, especially today, tries to increase ratings by going after soft stories and/or having conflict on hard ones. The easiest way is to have two pundits yell at each other while the anchor scribbles on his or her script. This is also one of the cheapest ways. Actually delivering the headlines can garner ratings, however it is quite expensive and can lead to a CNN effect on ratings, up in breaking news and low for anytime else. In addition, only so many stories can be fit in as channels are increasingly divided into independently-minded shows, rather than a network of programming.

This is the joy of the Internet. Websites can be something different to various readers. While CNN is a good example of this, the most notable example would be BuzzFeed. While many people go on to see which character of a 1990s sitcom they would be or fruits that look like Dave Franco, there are also many readers who come for the original journalism. BuzzFeed is increasingly writing long form journalism that you won’t find elsewhere. This strategy has led to BuzzFeed to become one of the most popular sites on the Internet.

After I watched the Hambycast, I saw a series that Dr. Sanjay Gupta has about living to 100. The short talked about sleep patterns and it was one of the most informative two minutes I’ve seen in quite awhile. Meanwhile, CNN has many other readers who didn’t watch the Hambycast nor the good doctor. They were off reading about the California drought or the enjoying the Eatocracy blog. CNN’s digital offerings have something for everyone simultaneously, as opposed to CNN television which offers only one thing at a time.

This week when Parts Unknown or some other Original Series repeat airs, fear not news-lovers, we’ll have a home online.

Tyler is an employee for TKNN.info, helping to run @TKNNPolJungle. The views expressed are not necessarily held nor endorsed by his employer.

Manisha Tank on News Stream

This morning, Kristie Lu Stout said she would be off News Stream until Wednesday. When the show started, I was surprised to see the show was still in Hong Kong. Lately, when Kristie is off or on assignment, the show has been hosted out of Atlanta. So to see the show in Hong Kong was surprising…

And to see Manisha Tank host was just as surprising. She hasn’t freelanced for CNN International in some time, and according to her LinkedIn profile, she currently resides in London.

No word yet whether or not Manisha will resume freelancing again for CNNI.

We love you, Alisyn Camerota!

If you can say one thing about cable news, it’s safe to say it’s polarizing. But should it be? No, not really.

Ever since Alisyn Camerota joined CNN with an as-of-yet-unannounced anchor role (though she will be anchoring CNN Tonight during the month of September), she has received a large amount of criticism from her alleged “fans” from her days at Fox News. Now, is it completely understandable that Fox viewers miss Alisyn? Yes. Is their behavior fair — or even mildly mature? No.

Every time Alisyn announces what shows she will be anchoring on a certain day (whether it is New Day or CNN Tonight), her exfans from Fox News lambast her on both Twitter and Facebook — in most cases, however, the reaction is larger and much more negative on Facebook.

If you’re like me, then you’re thinking they’re all nuts. You can miss your favorite anchor if they were to leave. If they go to another cable network, you have three options: 1) get over it; 2) follow them to that network; 3) unlike their Facebook page and you won’t get alerts from them.

Alisyn has been at CNN since July 14th. By now, you naysayers know she’s no longer with Fox, whether because she wanted out or because she was no longer wanted. Either way leave the lady alone! If you don’t like CNN, great. Unfollow her. Or, better yet, respect her: keep following her, don’t watch CNN… Just keep tabs on her. Why is that so hard? Why must you constantly express your displeasure and rage that she left?

Shut up!

There are a few positive notes mixed in, but not many… A few of the many negative examples:

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Piers Morgan finally leaves CNN

Well, it’s official. Piers Morgan tweeted out a few messages today, indicating he is officially no longer a CNN employee. (Although his primetime show was gutted, he hadn’t officially left the network and was supposedly returning to conduct big interviews — as expected, that isn’t happening…)

The tweets:

Most likely, the interviews (if the offer really even existed) were probably not as big as Piers would have wanted, would have been broadcast at inopportune times; or maybe the new contract wasn’t as good. Whatever it was, something upset Piers — otherwise, he wouldn’t have said when he signed off he’d be back with CNN specials.

CNNI’s updated chyrons

On August 11th, CNN/US debuted their new lower thirds. At midnight, CNNI unveiled their own lower third update — the same as CNN’s, except their “CNN” icon is red instead of white, and the live bug is the opposite color as well.

Great to see CNNI and CNN going to a more similar style of graphics, given the recent simulcasts (and the nightly simulcasts of AC360 and CNN Tonight, along with the weekly simulcasts of State of the Union and Fareed Zakaria GPS). For continuity sake, well done.

The debut occurred during Natalie Allen’s block of CNN Newsroom:

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Some other screen grabs of various other CNNI shows…

News Stream with Kristie Lu Stout:

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World Business Today:

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International Desk:

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Connect the World with Becky Anderson:

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World Sport:

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International Desk:

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Amanpour.:

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The World Right Now with Hala Gorani:

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Quest Means Business with Richard Quest:

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Hire Lynda Kinkade, CNN

Last weekend, Lynda Kinkade anchored parts of the late afternoon-evening CNN Newsroom, the shift anchored normally by Jonathan Mann. (And Jonathan did anchor last weekend as well — she and Jon rotated hours). Today, Lynda is anchoring the International Desk, the shift normally covered by Ralitsa Vassileva.

She’s a great anchor — very knowledgeable and she interacts well with the weather anchors and with CNN’s correspondents. Although she has said she lives in New York and is freelancing for CNNI in CNN Center, I think CNNI really needs to scoop her up. CNNI needs another weekend anchor, and it should be her.

So what if she’s in NYC? CNNI has (off the top of my head) two shows in NYC during the week: World Business Today with Maggie Lake and Quest Means Business with Richard Quest. So, why not throw in a weekend news bulletin from NYC, anchored by Lynda? CNN doesn’t use an NYC set until 3pET anyways.

So… Give her an offer she can’t refuse and hire her.

Time Warner pulls out of Vice deal

Moments ago, Jonathan Mahler broke some pretty big news on Twitter about Time Warner and Vice News…

Developing story, so stay tuned…

(UPDATE 1:20pET) — As reported on the NY Times by Jonathan…

Time Warner has ended negotiations to buy a major stake in Vice Media, according to a person briefed on the discussions.

The two companies started talking in June about the possibility of a joint venture. One scenario included Time Warner’s giving Vice control of the cable channel HLN, which would have provided Vice with a 24-hour network that reaches more than 100 million households.

The conversations collapsed after the two companies were unable to agree on a valuation of Vice, a fast-growing media business with a strong following among millennials.

Last year, 21st Century Fox paid $70 million for a 5 percent stake in the company, valuing the company at more than $1 billion.

A spokesman for Vice was not immediately available for comment.

UPDATE (2:25pET) — HLN’s Morning Express weather anchor Bob van Dillen took to Twitter to comment on the latest HLN/VICE News rumors… And let’s just say, it was quite comical!


Lisa Desjardins parts with CNN

CNN’s Capitol Hill reporter, Lisa Desjardins, has left CNN. She previously served as CNN Radio’s Capitol Hill correspondent, and then in July 2013, she joined CNN. Although she didn’t get much air-time, Lisa did a lot of off-air reporting as well as political reporting on CNN.com.

She announced the change a short while ago on Twitter:


Not wanting to immediately assume that meant she had left, I asked. She then confirmed that she had.

This may (or may not) be related to the story written by FTVLive earlier this week, saying fifteen positions were cut in DC.

UPDATE (8-29 11:30aET) — Lisa posted a goodbye video and confirms CNN let her go: