How CNN Can Save Itself

Insiders pitch plans, from bringing back Crossfire to pulling an MSNBC
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2010 1:51 PM CDT
How CNN Can Save Itself
CNN chief national correspondent John King doesn't look too happy.   (AP Photo)

With CNN’s primetime viewership off 40% since last year, Michael Calderone at Politico undertakes a survey of news insiders to see what can be done for the “most trusted name in news.”

  • Resurrect Crossfire: CNN could give people the outspoken MSNBC- and Fox-style opinions they appear to want, but the right vs. left format would keep the network itself neutral. "We were No. 1," says a former contributor, even with Lou Dobbs as a lead-in.

  • Get a personality: "The view from nowhere has failed," says a journalism professor. But though "viewlessness may not be an advantage, ideology is not the only alternative." Another insider is more candid. “There ain’t no room in the middle."
  • Get personalities: Newser's Michael Wolff doesn't think CNN needs partisan anchors; it just needs "anybody who doesn't reek of conventional television." People are "less and less interested in traditional television, civic-minded news delivered by what are, in effect, news readers."
  • "Jazz" it up: "Headline-type news” is “increasingly easy to access and, therefore, commodified," a former TV exec says. "News packaged as entertainment" is what works, and it doesn't necessarily have to have a slant.
  • Change the lineup: Different rosters could boost ratings. Hey, it works sometimes...
(More CNN stories.)

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