CNN Plans High-Tech News Show

Times Staff Writer

CNN plans to launch a three-hour daily news program Aug. 8, in which anchor Wolf Blitzer would pull together news from around the globe in front of two walls of video screens simultaneously showing several breaking news stories as they are unfolding.

The program, called “The Situation Room,” would gather teams of CNN correspondents, analysts, contributors and guests to discuss the top news stories of the day and give viewers minute-to-minute coverage with streaming video. Blitzer described the show at the Television Critics Assn. conference in Beverly Hills on Sunday as “old-fashioned good, solid, serious journalism” that “tries to be transparent” by taking advantage of the latest technology.

“We’re not going to compromise on journalism but we’re going to take you behind the scenes and let viewers see what we’re getting when we’re getting it, especially in those critical hours where news is gelling,” Blitzer said. “I’ve been frustrated that viewers are only able to [see] a small fraction of what we are able to gather.”


The program, which would air from 3 to 6 p.m. ET, is loosely modeled on the concept of the White House Situation Room, and would combine traditional reporting with online resources, such as blogs, Blitzer said.

The show is just one component of CNN’s plan to use new technology in its news reports. CNN News Group President Jim Walton said that in the fall would launch a broadband premium service, CNN Pipeline, an on-demand news experience that follows the website’s introduction of free broadband video, which began in June.

CNN Pipeline would allow consumers to simultaneously watch on their desktops streams of live new stories, chosen by editors as the top stories of the day, as well as select other news that interests them with a click of the mouse, Walton said. Users also would be able to view news coverage on part of their screens while they use their computers for other business. Executives have not yet determined the price of the service, which would also be available abroad, Walton said.

CNN is one of a number of traditional news organizations incorporating video and Web capabilities into their broadcasts. CBS News recently unveiled its free broadband video service on its website and also announced plans to develop a video-on-demand digital network. ABC has its own subscription digital cable channel, which includes a live channel and video on demand.