The History of CNN
The basic cable and satellite TV channel, Cable News Network (CNN), was launched on June 1, 1980 by the famous American media owner Ted Turner. CNN is a “24-hour global multi-platform network” that is available across the United States (History of CNN). This news organization, identified as the first channel to produce only news in the United States, continues to evolve from its beginning to the present day. CNN’s impact one online news continues to change the world through the continuous improvements technology allows for.
The first phase of CNN, 1993–1999, revolved around the launch of CompuServe, “the first major commercial online service in the United States” (CompuServe). From this launch, CNN aired a “call-in talk show with a live audience” called “Talk Back live” to compete with other news competitors including Fox News. The talk show was launched in 1994 with host “Susan Rook, and later Bobbi Batista” and “was designed to resemble the high-energy, syndicated afternoon talk shows that were at the peak of their popularity at that time” (NYdailynews). However, CNN decision to shut down this talk show was of critical importance at the time. CNN wanted to shift their focus back to a break news channel at the moment. During the beginning of the war in Iraq, this news corporation wanted to use the slot of the Talk Show and use it for breaking news programs including coverage on the war. This removal displays CNN’s approach to attract audience by strictly promoting their company in the light of breaking news. Furthermore, additional programs aired on CNN included, “Freeman Reports” in which talk show hosts “interviewed guests and took like telephone call-ins regarding current news events and other topics of interest” (CNN Programing). This report remained to be apart of CNN coverage from 1980–1985 to show the desired shows the news company aired. CNN’s weekday schedule consisted of rolling news and programming throughout the daytime and nighttime to reflect the cable channels main focus on covering breaking news.
Furthermore, the second phase of CNN includes Ted Turner’s idea on merging with one the largest television networks, Time Warner Cable. Ted Turner, who was born on November 19, 1938 in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the founded of the famous Cable News Network. Previously, Turner created the “Turner Broadcasting System” that is the “nations first “superstation” using satellite technology to carry its signal nationwide” (Ted Turner Facts CNN). After launching CNN, Turner decides to sell “Turner Broadcasting System” to Time Warner and invest $20 million into this news cable network.
CNN meticulous planning and 24-hour coverage on a wide range of American history’s major events has been critical to the news companies image and making it the network to watch. In addition to the coverage, CNN expands and gathers news from the most remote parts of the world. CNN covers major events including the Challenger in 1986, the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, the September 11 attacks and the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Presidential Election. The earlier coverage on the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster reveals CNN as the only station to deliver live reports on the launch to the public. Moreover, the cable networks coverage on the Gulf War was the only news passage to communicate from inside Iraq (History of CNN). During the September 11 attacks, CNN was “the first news channel to break the news” as the reporters wrote, “you are looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center, and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center” (History of CNN). Lastly, CNN provided an enormous amount of reportage during the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections (History of CNN). Coverage on these crises shows CNN ability to perform reportage of real time, 24-hour exposure on what is going on in the world. Previously, news was accessed in the morning and the evening. Now CNN has changed the development of online news through the immediate treatment and handling on current events. As history evolves, CNN rapidly continues to stretch their boundaries to make their news company the most beneficial for its viewers.
It was not until 1995 when CNN launched its first web page to further expand its news reach. The functionality and aesthetics of the CNN website continues to alter year to year to stay up to date for its viewers. On August 30, 1995, the digital form of CNN was born to add new news platforms for the audience to easily access online news. The 1995 design resembled the Netscape navigator frame, bad fonts and lack of organization. Since then, the change from the 1995 to the 2000 web designs has been dramatic. The 2000 layout displays a “left-aligned website” where the main content is organized vertically down the left column (Blog). Furthermore, the CNN audience has more options to view including images, “Top Stories”, and a variety of different font sizes to attract attention to the most valued content. The transition from the 2000 to the 2008 and 2010 web formation highlights CNN change from a vertical aligned site to a horizontal one.
The main content includes “world, U.S, Weather, Business, Sports, Politics, Law, Sci-Tech, Space, Health, Entertainment, Travel, Education, Career, Local, In-Depth” tabs have been moved from the left side of the page to be placed top and centered. This small alteration makes the page more appealing and adds a better sense of organization. The news is categorized into different sections including “Latest News” and “Popular News”. CNN audiences can easily view news that they are looking for when they open up the page. Since then the current CNN page has significantly evolved from its very beginning. The specific decisions from year to year to make slight changes to the page, has lead to the creation of the current 2016 CNN website.
The newest design appears completely foreign to the 1995 layout. First off, the CNN icon has changed its location on the page from the left corner of the page, to the center and now remains back in the left corner much smaller than the original style. The most current web design adds an additional tab to click on to access the main content news. In addition, the sections have expanded by adding on “News and Buzz”, “Most Watched”, “Recommended”, “You Should see these”(CNN). The overall landscape of the current version is much neater and has an overall purpose to the way it is organized and presented. The headlines are much larger and easier to read and each page is rich with photos and videos from news across the world. This most current design makes the CNN “designs feel more like a hub, a place that collects all the latest world news and presents it for readers to easily digest” (Blog). By perfecting the CNN web design year to year, ultimately allows this news organization hold its title of being one of the most valued outlets to access online news.
While the format of the CNN website has made essential transformations to the overall layout, there are features within the page that have remained the unchanged. The red, black and white colors have remained apparent on the CNN website since its establishment. These colors can be identified by its viewers across all the different platforms CNN presents and can capture its audience attention when competing with other competitive news organizations across the board. Furthermore, the CNN logo has remained constant across all different web designs. While the CNN symbol has moved throughout the page from design to design, the bold red icon can be identified a hub for news information across the world.
CNN has expanded its coverage and location across the globe. A report done in August 2010 reveals that “CNN is available in over 100 million U.S households” and “airs through CNN internal, which can be seen by viewers in over 212 countries and territories” (History of CNN). Directly on the CNN.com site, the news company created a isolated section called “Around the World”. This area of the page offers news coverage on the “latest from Africa, Asia, Middle East, etc.” (CNN.com) Furthermore, this news outlet has “26 international bureaus and production centers in London, Hong Kong, and Mexico City are at the very heard of what CNN is all about and what it will be in the future” (Why the world is watching CNN). The news corporation’s ability to hold locations across the world further enhances its viewership. According to the CNN direction of the International division, Chris Cramer, his experiences of traveling around the world taught him that “CNN is not just a trusted source of news but also relied upon many as their only way of knowing what is happening in the world” (Why the world is watching CNN). CNN continues to use their expansion in other territories to their advantage by luring in a wide range of audiences across the globe.
CNN Today is the most trusted news corporation there is currently standing. The Pew Research study, “Which news organization is the most trusted? The answer is complicated” compares other top news companies including ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox news with CNN. The study focused on asking adults across the United States to see which news outlets are most trusted and distrusted. The results demonstrated that CNN overall is the most trusted news organization with 54% total respondents reporting from the 95% who have heard of it. ABC and NBC news outlets were tied next in the running with 50% trusting out of 94% who have heard of it. Fox news was the least trusted out of the five other competing news companies with 44% trusting out of 93% who have heard of it (Pew Research Center). The trivial division between the news companies trust levels reveals the ongoing completion within news establishments. Every decision, every approach that is made is of critical importance to the overall approach and style each news corporation chooses on daily basis. The impact CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox News, etc. have on the development of online news is a continuous cycle of failures and successes that are build upon year to year.