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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

CNN Prez Says You are a Journalist if You can say "Yes" to These Three Questions

CNN honcho Jonathan Klein has three questions for anybody who wonders if long-time celebrity interviewer Larry King is a "real" journalist:

"I define a journalist as someone who asks questions, finds out answers and communicates them to an audience. Larry King has proven that he's among the best in the world at doing that."

So for all you fellow bloggers out there who lay in bed at night wondering if you are real, honest-to-goodness "journalists," take Klein's test and if you can answer all three with a "yes," you qualify as a real journalist. Speaking as a long-time newspaper guy, I must point out that you might then want to consider seeking professional help, but that's an issue for another post.

Anyway, Klein seems to have a solid grasp of why CNN lost its position to Fox News as the nation's premier cable news operation:

"'For too long, CNN was a place where, come prime time, we kept on doing the same thing we've been doing all day. Keep giving you the headlines. And that was fine when we were the only game in town,' he says. 'Now there's kind of another outlet for people to get their headlines on demand, and it's no longer cable news. It's the Internet.'
"CNN.com averages 7 million visitors a day, and only a fraction of them tune in for the prime-time offerings, even when news breaks. On a ho-hum news night, CNN's numbers plummet, while Fox holds steady or even grows.
"'Many mainstream news organizations forget there is an audience,' he says, gesticulating around his office, with its glorious view of Central Park. 'Look at us! You're in a big, fancy building and, y'know, you meet famous people and you eat good meals,' he says.
"'Even those reporters who get out there and roll up their sleeves and report often get treated special…. And you can forget that you've got actual customers…. Any business that forgets about its customers is in big trouble.'"

You can read the full Klein at The Los Angeles Times' Calendarlive.com web site by clicking on the headline above this post.