Ed Turner, 66; TV Newsman Helped CNN Upstart Gain Respect

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ed Turner, 66, who helped establish CNN as a respected major news organization, died Saturday of liver cancer in George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Turner was hired in 1980 as one of the first news professionals brought into the fledgling network. The fact that he coincidentally shared the last name of CNN founder Ted Turner earned him the nickname “No Relation” Turner, which he had printed on matchbooks he distributed from his office.

Ed Turner retired in 1998 as vice president in charge of newsgathering and tried unsuccessfully to launch California News Service, a smaller version of CNN. He worked for the Freedom Forum, a nonprofit journalism organization, and had been co-writing a history of CNN with former correspondent Peter Arnett.


Born in Bartlesville, Okla., and educated in journalism at the University of Oklahoma, Turner joined KWTV, the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City, as a reporter and anchor. He later worked as a producer for “CBS Morning News” and for WTTG in Washington.

He said starting CNN was a “challenge too great not to have a go at it.”