MEDIA: CNN: AN EXPERT’S VIEW - After 20 years of reporting the news, CNN hasn’t quite made it in the UK

I am not a regular viewer of CNN despite the fact that with the Sky package it is only a click away. In fact, I am not a viewer of CNN at all. The one and only time I watched it was during the Gulf War when, whether through luck or good management, the channel had a world scoop on some of the most visually arresting television seen on our screen since the Coronation.

I am not a regular viewer of CNN despite the fact that with the Sky

package it is only a click away. In fact, I am not a viewer of CNN at

all. The one and only time I watched it was during the Gulf War when,

whether through luck or good management, the channel had a world scoop

on some of the most visually arresting television seen on our screen

since the Coronation.



Despite my lifetime interest in news and current affairs, I wondered why

I had never bothered with a service that the hand-outs inform me is ’the

world’s television leader with 11 TV networks, two radio networks, 12

websites, 4,000 staff, 37 bureaux, 27 satellites, seven production

centres and 800 broadcast affiliates reaching one billion people’.



The fault could not be the legendary Ted Turner, the station’s visionary

founder; it was undoubtedly mine. Somehow or other, all this had passed

me by.



Rather than admit my myopia, I spent Friday evening watching CNN and was

rather impressed. The channel is very professionally produced, pacey,

comprehensive and authoritative with a genuinely different feel to the

BBC or the much missed News at Ten. Furthermore, there was a valiant

attempt to globalise not just the content but the delivery as well.



All very nice I thought, but I then switched back to the BBC to watch

the Nine O’Clock News.



So why don’t we watch CNN? In the 21st century we are all supposed to

have become multicultural global citizens who should be demanding the

excellence of the CNN delivery.



The problem is that in the UK, nothing could be further from the

truth.



As individual countries are removing national boundaries and economic

restrictions, the vast majority of us re-erect them in our minds.



We are proud to be British and increasingly so. In fact, the UK is a

little too amorphous for us. We would prefer to be described as English

or, now that I think about it, we would prefer to describe ourselves as

Londoners or Geordies or whatever.



There is a security and comfort in the familiar and the parochial, and

this is reflected in how we like our news and current affairs

programmes.



In an age where local newspapers thrive and local radio stations

proliferate, what chance does a truly global station like CNN have?

Compound that with the high standards set by our own national

broadcasters and it is no wonder I could not find even an infrequent

viewer among my friends.



The situation may well be different in other countries where the psyche

is possibly more eclectic, but not here.



The fault is not CNN’s. In an age of multi-everything, the channel

thought we were ready. Sadly, we’re not ready yet. Keep it up CNN and in

another 20 years we’ll be with you.





Owner Time Warner



Audience data Available in 231 million households worldwide, including

107 million homes in Europe, Middle East and Africa



Advertisers include Compaq,Volvo, Barclays, SAS, Getronics.



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