Another “What to do about CNN” article…

And this one comes from The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal…

For years, the potential of a partnership or merger with a broadcast network news division has been discussed. Between CNN’s troubles and economic-driven cuts and concerns elsewhere, this might be the time to pull the trigger with either ABC or CBS.

Whichever broadcaster CNN married, the two would share resources and spread out costs the way NBC News does with MSNBC. Cable would provide a place to rerun broadcast reports and reuse network reporters over the course of the day. But it’s more than just a time and money play.

The broadcaster would provide wider exposure for the best of what the cable network had to offer, post-makeover, and shows such as ABC’s “Nightline” and CBS’ “48 Hours” would provide a template for far more interesting storytelling than CNN now offers.

Sounds easy. It’s not. I really don’t like it when people bring up the MSNBC/NBC analogy when talking about CNN. Because the two are so dissimilar. It’s one thing to launch a network that’s part of your organization, give it some semblance of independence, all but abandon it for years as it loses whatever stature it had, and then start bringing it back into the fold but gut the part of its structure that made it independent while at the same time reducing your own news division’s staff and budget not once but several times as has happened with MSNBC and NBC. It’s another thing to bring in an outside, independent news organization with it’s own bigger better infrastructure and staff and a company culture and mindset established over decades and then try to somehow merge that with your own much more meager news operation which has its own culture and mindset. That’s what would happen if CNN hooked up with either ABC or CBS. It sounds good at first on paper. But I have yet to see a proposed implementation that seemed practical or realistic.

4 Responses to “Another “What to do about CNN” article…”

  1. andrewtyndall Says:

    ABC Sports successfully incorporated itself — and eventually disappeared inside — ESPN. To do that they had to pull off what you suggest: “bring in an outside independent organization with its own bigger, better infrastructure and staff and a company culture and mindset established over decades…” ABC News should be able to pull of the same trick.

    I have heard that ABC News’ potential cable news fit is Bloomberg not CNN — which leaves CBS News with its perennial failed hook-up partner CNN.

    CBS had all those opportunities to integrate with cable channels when it was under the Viacom umbrella. Its subsequent stand-alone spinoff indicates that CBS is least likely of all broadcasters to play nice with a cable cousin.

  2. I had thought of the ESPN analogy but the thing is, and you point this out, ABC Sports disappeared. CBS News would not disappear…not yet anyways. And that isn’t what CBS would want I don’t think. I think they’d want CBS to take control of CNN not the other way around. That’s a big issue for people inside CNN.

  3. […] Another “What to do about CNN” article… « Inside Cable News […]

  4. […] Another “What to do about CNN” article… « Inside Cable News […]

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