a memo from CNN CEO Mark Thompson outlines some of the early plans to try to save CNN from cable — and grow its presence on the phone.
As noted by The Wall Street Journal, which has seen the memo, the first step will be combining CNN’s myriad news-gathering groups into one team. CNN, in its current structure, has a TV-focused operation, a streaming one, and a digital one. They communicate, but they’re separate organizations with separate leaders and goals. Thompson will combine them and then create a new organization focused on finding new ways to grow CNN’s audience.
Beyond a major restructuring of CNN, Thompson is also working on the problem of how to get people to use CNN on their phones. “For many people today, the smartphone is a more important device for consuming news than the TV,” he wrote in the memo. “Their news prime time is in the morning, not the evening.”
Thompson and CNN don’t yet have a solution for getting people to go to CNN on mobile devices. “I don’t think anyone’s yet cracked the code on how that translates, truly translates to a great news experience,” he wrote.
I don’t doubt Mark Thompson is the man who could potentially save CNN, after all he did become a trend-setter when he was at The New York Times directing the creation of some of the best apps any media publication has offered both past and present.
That being said, I think getting CNN to everyone is only half of the problem. the other half, the much more difficult half, is getting people excited about consuming CNN.
I can’t remember the last time I watched CNN willingly. It has always been at an airport, doctor’s office, or at a hotel lobby. The programming at CNN, like all 24-hour news channels, is soul-sucking and numbing with regular consumption. I don’t care how many places I can get my CNN news, it is still the same annoyingly hostile and sensational news it has always been.