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CNN President Jon Klein More Afraid of Facebook Than Fox News

kleintyrangiel03102010.jpgCNN President Jon Klein spoke with Bloomberg BusinessWeek Editor Josh Tyrangiel at the McGraw-Hill Building in Manhattan this morning.

In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek editor Josh Tyrangiel at BusinessWeek’s annual media summit in New York this morning, CNN President Jon Klein said Web 2.0 presents concerns him far more than cable rival Fox News.


Highlighting the fact that Facebook draws many more users than Fox does viewers, Klein also pointed out the unique information-based relationships that social media users develop with one another. “The people you’re friends with on Facebook or the people you follow on Twitter are trusted sources of information,” he said. The poularity of these platforms reflects a high demand for new information, he said. “People bemoan the state of journalism today, but … the audience wants in. They don’t want to turn their backs on information.”

At the same time, all the new conduits for news make the world more confusing and complex, meaning that organizations that can synthesize the information will provide a highly valuable service to their audiences. In this arena, Klein said, CNN has an advantage over its more openly partisan rivals.

The last time Klein commented Fox, a Fox News Channel spokesperson said: “We don’t respond to presidents of fifth-place news networks. The last time we looked, Jon was losing to the Weather Channel, so call us back when he and CNN regain relevancy.”

The main goal for CNN going forward is to consistently sustain a level of quality seen at publications like The Wall Street Journal and TV programs like “60 Minutes,” said Klein. Part of that credibility comes from letting a story die as soon as the audience is informed, rather than engaging in speculation or “fanning the flames” when a story captures viewers.

“If we can be the pipeline for reliable, accurate information, that’s a pretty essential function in the world of these social networks. Thats why not clouding the work that we do with suspect partisanship really helps our business,” he said.

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