Tuesday, June 2, 2015

CNN turns 35 years old, celebrates with bloopers and a TV special (which CNN International couldn't be bothered to tell African viewers to watch).

CNN turned 35 years old on Monday, and the 24-hour TV news channel which stands for "Cable News Network" celebrated with bloopers from its storied past, as well as a TV special looking back at its history and the how it's covered some of the big stories.

Co-incidentally, eNCA (DStv 403) turned seven years old on Monday in South Africa, and CNBC Africa (DStv 410) turned eight. Both channels are carried by MultiChoice in its DStv satellite pay-TV platform in Africa.

In an internal memo send to staff by Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, wrote "Thirty five years ago today, Ted Turner and CNN made history.It was 1 June, 1980".

"Before anyone else, he realised there was a market, and a need, for a television network devoted to news and information, 24 hours a day. It was brilliant and radical."

"Thirty five years later, we are still making history, every day. In a world that changes so fast you can now get the news on your wrist, one thing remains constant: CNN is always there".

"The world relies on CNN, so it matters that CNN is good," wrote Jeff Zucker. "We take our work seriously, because we know we have a responsibility to maintain the standards that Ted set 35 years ago."

"He founded CNN to act upon our convictions, to be a positive force in a world where cynics abound, and to provide information to people where it isn't readily available. We live up to those ambitious goals every day – whether we are covering a story, moderating a debate, pushing an interview subject just a bit harder, developing a new way to get our reporting to the people who want it."

To celebrate its 35th anniversary, CNN put together a 4 minute blooper reel filled with gaffes from its past. It contains funny moments of anchors and correspondents laughing, having to respond to technical mistakes and studio problems, awkward silences, technology not working, and being unable to remember what month follows July.

On Monday night CNN International (DStv 401) also had a TV special, Thirty Five Years of CNN but did little to tell and inform Africa's viewers that it would be on and when to watch it. The special wasn't recordable; CNN International's electronic programme guide (EPG) on DStv never listed the programme. It's not known when the special would be repeated this week, if at all.

Thirty Five Years of CNN which has been uploaded to YouTube and other video viewing sites, looks back as anchors and correspondents over the years reflect on big stories CNN covered over the past decades, ranging from 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, to the OJ Simpson chase and trial, the first Iraq war, the Challenger disaster, the Boston Marathon bombing and the Haiti earthquake among others.