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
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
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
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
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