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CNN

CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company. The 24-hour cable news channel was founded in 1980 by American media proprietor Ted Turner. CNN broadcasts from its headquarters at the CNN Center in Atlanta, the Time Warner Center in New York City, and studios in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. CNN is available in 98 million U.S. households, and more than 271 million worldwide. Jeff Zucker is the president of CNN Worldwide.

Don Lemon Recounts ‘Heartbreaking’ Interview With Michael Brown’s Parents

Lemon Michael Brown ParentsAfter conducting an emotional interview last night with the parents of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American 18-year-old killed by police in Missouri over the weekend, Don Lemon wrote about the “heartbreaking” exchange.

The mother and father are now left without their beloved son, gone too soon. She broke down during our interview. During our interview Michael Brown’s father wore a t-shirt with his son’s picture on it and the words “no justice” emblazoned across the front. Their attorney, Benjamin Crump who represented Trayvon Martin’s family is vowing that in the end the message on that shirt will prove untrue; that one day soon there will be justice for Michael Brown and his family. The whole world is watching.

During the interview, Brown’s mother broke down after Lemon evoked what his mother would say: “You shouldn’t go before I should go; your son should not die before you die.”

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Shepard Smith Explains Use of the Word ‘Coward’ During Robin Williams Coverage

The hours-long cable news coverage of the death of Robin Williams last night included some reporting, and much eulogizing. And as often happens during unscripted live TV news coverage, the words used are interpreted in different ways.

Case in point: Shepard Smith. At the end of his hour-long special, the Fox News anchor read a quote from the late actor/comedian about his children. Smith then surmised: “They’re inspiring you and exciting you and they fill you up with the kind of joy you could never have known. But something inside you is so horrible, or you’re such a coward, or whatever the reason, that you decide you have to end it. Robin Williams, at 63, did that today.”

Smith was immediately criticized for using the word “coward.”

“The last thing I would ever suggest about a man I know nothing about personally, is that he’s a coward,” Smith tells TVNewser. “That goes against everything I am. If those words, I used so innocently, offended his family, from the bottom of my heart, I could not be more sorry.”

Nischelle TurnerOver on CNN, entertainment reporter Nischelle Turner got some pushback for using the word “demons” when describing Robin Williams’ mental state. She apologized on air.

“I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from the mental health community in using that word,” Turner said. “A lot of times when we’re doing live coverage we say things and we’re talking and we don’t realize what we’re saying. They’re absolutely correct. That it is a disease, so I apologize for using the word demons.”

ABC News also got some social media pushback for promoting a live feed of aerials of Williams’ home on ABCNews.com.

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Desperate Iraqi Yazidis Rush Toward Relief Chopper, With CNN Correspondent on Board

IvanIraqCNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson accompanied an Iraqi Air Force helicopter emergency aid delivery in northern Iraq today. Two Kurdish Peshmerga machine gunners began opening fire on suspected targets as they flew over ISIS positions toward Mt. Sinjar where Iraqi Yazidis remain trapped.

Watson told Wolf Blitzer that as they approached, they could see the Yazidi waving makeshift white flags. Once the aircraft landed, dozens of them rushed toward the chopper. But they weren’t after the diapers, condensed milk, water, shoes and food on board. Instead, they began throwing themselves into the helicopter. In all, about 20 civilians were rescued.

“I’ve been doing this job for more than 10 years, Watson told Blitzer. “I have never seen a situation as desperate as this, as emotionally charged as this, and I’ve never seen a rescue mission as ad hoc and improvised as this.”

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CNN Updates Graphics Package

CNN refreshed its on air look today. The bolder on-screen lower thirds are in the color scheme of black, white and red. The topic banner slides on and after a few moments, slides up to reveal a sub-headline or the name and title of the interviewee.

The crawl still exists throughout much of the programming day alternating between CNN.com and CNNMoney.com headlines. The early morning shows adjust the lower third up slightly to accommodate national weather reports. Another new features, the twitter handle of the anchor of a particular show alternates with the show title in the lower right.

Michelle Kosinski Gets Married

KosinskiDuncanCNN’s Michelle Kosisnki has tied the knot. The White Hosue correspondent married biotechnology investor and philanthropist Kimbell Rush Duncan. Yesterday’s ceremony at the Anderson House museum and event space in Washington followed a blessing ceremony at St. Martin’s Catholic Church earlier this month.

(Photo: New York Times)

Are CNNers Leading the Pack for ‘The View’ Co-Host Spots?

Cupp Hostin

It’s looking more like “The View” will have a cable news-infused makeover. First, as reported yesterday, MSNBC VP Bill Wolff is poised to take over as EP.

Now we’re hearing CNN “Crossfire” co-host S.E. Cupp and CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, who have already filled in on the show, have participated in private “chemistry tests” with returning co-host Rosie O’Donnell and sole-leftover host Whoopi Goldberg. TMZ reports O’Donnell and Cupp got into a “nasty” exchange over abortion during a test show yesterday. O’Donnell reportedly said she “didn’t want another Elisabeth Hasselbeck.”

“Chemistry tests were conducted yesterday with Whoopi and Rosie,” a show spokesperson tells TVNewser. “The chemistry tests were intended to be confidential.  Any names out there were not released by the network nor will they be. No decisions have been made and there is nothing to announce at this time.”

It’s been a busy week at the show: Cupp and Hostin guest hosted together on Wednesday. And yesterday also included the taping of Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy‘s final show, which will air Monday. Cupp was on CNN yesterday, from New York, around 3:45pmET, meaning the test show was likely conducted late morning/early afternoon. Also, Whoopi Goldberg was not a part of yesterday’s live show.

TMZ also reports Goldberg took a thinly-veiled shot at former co-host and original co-EP Barbara Walters:
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Israel-Gaza: TV Networks Say They Were There Too

WolfTunnel304We’ve been hearing from tvnewsers following our Q&A yesterday with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity who was finishing up a 4-day reporting trip to Israel. During the interview, we asked Hannity what he thought of the media coverage so far of the conflict.

Here’s my take on the media coverage, and I did glance around. I didn’t see — and maybe some of them did it — but I didn’t see reporters in the elaborate tunnels, I didn’t see them at the indoor playground, I didn’t see people go to the war room of the mayor of Sderot, like we did. I think there are too many Hamas representatives put on the air. I don’t think enough emphasis has been put on the lives of the average Israeli. Where’s CBS? Where is all this so-called reporting on NBC and CNN?

Because the headline of our story included the last part of the quote, a couple of those other networks reached out to us to emphatically say, “We were there.” So, in the interest of fairness, here are some of those reports from CNN, CBS News and NBC News:

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Behind the TV Scenes: ‘OutFront’ EP Susie Xu

This summer, we’re putting a spotlight on the industry’s top producers; getting the inside story about their shows, how they got to where they are, and advice they have for future TV journalists.

Susie XuIn 13 years at CNN, Susie Xu has risen from intern, to field reporter, to producer for “Larry King Live,” to her current role as executive producer of “Erin Burnett OutFront.” Xu was born in Tianjin, China, the second child in her family, born during China’s one-child policy. “From the beginning of my life, I was really not supposed to be born,” Xu tells us. “The government came down on my parents and said, ‘you’re not supposed to have a second child.’ But my parents defied them, and I think that’s shaped a lot of who I am.” Xu and her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was four. She grew up in Grove City, PA and graduated from Penn State.

TVNewser: You’ve risen up the ranks to an EP position pretty quickly. What helped you climb the ladder?

Xu: A lot of it was taking every opportunity that CNN gave me and just running with it. I don’t say this as someone who drinks the Kool-Aid of the company, but CNN has provided so many opportunities in terms of different skills that I can gain, different jobs that I can do. I started out doing show producing, running prompter, running scripts to Wolf Blitzer. Suddenly, there was an opportunity in New York and be part of the live production. I jumped on that opportunity. Within, not even two years, an opportunity opened up in the Beijing bureau to field and package produce. I had never been on the newsgathering side of things, but because I’m fluent in Chinese, and because I have that interest and that drive, my boss at the time at CNNI gave me a chance. From there, producing for Larry King just fell into my lap, and they called me when I was just coming home from Beijing, and said, “we need you to go film a special about transvestites in Miami… I knew nothing about that, but I just thought, ‘well, that’s really interesting, I’ll jump on a plane and go do it.’ A lot of it is just throwing caution to the wind and jumping in head first and figuring out as you go.

TVNewser: What was it like for you producing in the Beijing bureau?

Xu: I found it to be more difficult to acclimate than I thought, because I do know the language and have family there. I’ve been to China many times to visit family, so I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. But operating as journalist in a country that’s so restrictive will always take some getting used to. You know you’re going into a communist country; you know they’re going to censor you, but at the same time it’s always shocking what you’re being censored for. We did a story on a really crippling drought in Western China, and that to me was a weather story, and how it affected the country economically. But the local government really saw that as a threat, and got really paranoid, and followed us around to every single shoot. Every single location, there was a

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Covering Ebola: ‘It’s So Easy to Stoke the Fear Instead of Talking Plain’

Dr Nancy Snyderman Ebola reportFor correspondents tasked with covering the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, there is a fine line to be walked with each and every report: where is the balance between informing and scaring?

“I always flip-flop in my mind. Ebola: it’s really scary. The fact that it jumped through borders by plane in Nigeria: scary,” NBC News chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman tells TVNewser. “But when responsible people say you must be in close proximity to someone and be exposed to vomit, diarrhea, blood [to be infected] — it’s not casual. I want people to know that we don’t make that stuff up. It’s to reassure and to tell the truth. I believe fervently that the public has a right to know. And my job is to tell people the truth. Even on the scary days, tell them the truth.”

“We’re going to keep all eyes on Atlanta right now as long as the two Americans are hospitalized,” she added. “The CDC has been extraordinarily transparent in the calls they’re getting and samples they’re getting. And as a reporter, it’s still all eyes on Africa” (watch her report after the jump).

Ditto CNN International correspondent David McKenzie, who was the first reporter granted access to the main Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone, one of the hardest-hit areas. McKenzie tells TVNewser that getting to the treatment center was crucial to examining the outbreak’s human impact. Read more

Carl Bernstein: ‘There’s a Lack of Leadership in News’

Bernstein panelCarl Bernstein says the news industry today doesn’t have “courageous leadership.” Bernstein, half of that famous duo who broke open the Watergate story, which led to the resignation of President Nixon 40 years ago Friday, says corporate profit has gotten in the way of good news judgment.

Bernstein moderated a panel at the Paley Center last night to promote the final installment of CNN’s “The Sixties.” “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘N’ Roll” debuts tomorrow at 9pmET.

Bernstein says “There’s a lack of leadership in news,” citing Walter Cronkite and CBS president at the time Bill Paley — for whom the Paley Center is named — who dedicated half of the “CBS Evening News” to the Watergate scandal the day it broke, and another big chunk of time the next night.

“That was real leadership what Cronkite did there,” he said. “[Paley] let his news division at CBS operate without making a profit. The three networks insist the news divisions need to operate at the same profit margins rather than say, ‘hey we have a public responsibility here.’”

TVNewser attended the panel discussion which also included Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills & Nash and “Tonight Show” bandleader Questlove.

Bernstein also reflected how the rise of cable news has impacted viewers. “There are fewer people open minded to the best attainable version of the truth. They’re looking increasingly for information as ammunition, to fit into their already preconceived ideologies, notions, politics, and religious beliefs.”

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