February 4, 2014 Back to All Blogs

News in the 1440-Minute Cycle

Surprise! CNN might blow everyone out of the water.

And here everyone expected it would be The Washington Post revolutionizing news, when Jeff Bezos bought the company last year. Sure, news just broke that he’ll be infusing the newspaper with money, after many years of cutbacks, but is that enough?

It may be the news network everyone thought just didn’t “get it” anymore that gets it more than we think. A new partnership with Twitter and the integration of Zite indicates that the “elder statesman” of the news networks is not resting on its laurels as the world passes it by.

CNN sees that technology may be the savior for its dying business and is exploring the cutting edge of predictive reporting tools. Predictive data generated by the likes of Twitter, Zite, and Dataminer will give CNN reporters quick access to the facts, sources, and background information that can make their stories more relevant.

Just last week, The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein announced he was leaving The Post to join Vox Media, aiming, as he explained, “to create a site that’s as good at explaining the world as it is at reporting on it.” The future of journalism, if you follow this line of thinking, requires more explanation and context.

Keeping up with the firehose in this era is expensive. If you want to be the most trusted name in news, you also need to be the most accurate and the quickest. And to be both good and fast, you need technology, but you also need people.

After all, according to the Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media, which tracks American journalism, nearly a third of Americans have stopped turning to a news outlet because they just aren’t getting the news they want. It isn’t easy to predict what news people want.

Reporters are in the best position to sift through the news and serve as the arbiters of what people want, but today they are stuck rehashing the same AP feeds everyone else has access to. And when consumers are comfortable with the raw feed, what’s the point of waiting for CNN to repackage it into a more compelling narrative? There is value if CNN’s reporters can add context, perspective, analysis.

Recall that when CNN launched on June 1, 1980, most people thought Ted Turner was out of his mind. Why would people watch television news 24 hours a day?

With its most recent moves, the network is once again proving itself forward-thinking in an industry that is on the cusp of being a relic.

Perhaps this is the new CNN.

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