Briefing Notes: CNN
Lindsay Isaac, senior news editor Lindsay.email@example.com
The London office of CNN
The London office of CNN houses around 30 staff (12 reporters, 5 anchors, 10 producers and others covering digital). Lindsay is the senior news editor so she decides where to deploy reporters and she also manages correspondents in bureaux across Europe, Africa and the Middle east. The US and South America are managed out of Atlanta. CNN has correspondents in Paris, Moscow, Jerusalem, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg and Hong King.
CNN is mainly a breaking news channel and they will throw all their resources at the big news story of the day. The US channel is dominated by Trump and stories that connect to Trump such as Syria and Ukraine. CNN International which is broadcast all over the world, apart from in the US, has more of a global agenda, but Lindsay admitted that it is often hard to get air time for off agenda stories.
Lindsay said she is keen to hear pitches from IBT members as she does want to grow the off agenda stories. These may make it to the US channel, CNN international or to online. CNN now has a bigger audience online than for its TV channels and online has a big appetite for stories so you may find that your story is only broadcast online. If the story is a big one it will be shown in different versions on CNN US, CNN International, the website and social media.
Shows air out of London at 6pm, 7pm, 10pm and 11pm but the studio is busy all day with guests coming in for both CNN international and CNN US.
Lindsay is keen to receive pitches via email. She suggested that all story ideas go to her. The exception is if you have a suggestion for studio guest on the day a story is running in which case you should contact planning (see above for contact details).
Pitches should be short and to the point and cover:
- A one sentence summary of the story
- What you can deliver in terms of pictures and characters
- How the story sheds light on a wider issue
- The news peg
- Whether or not you are offering an exclusive
If Lindsay is not the right person then she will pass it on to the appropriate colleague. She emphasised the importance of a news angle or peg but this might not be a direct link – for example she mentioned a story about a French dancer who had come to France as a refugee from Syria. The fact that he had been a refugee from Syria made it topical in her eyes. It does appear that there may be space for softer features although Lindsay said the priority was hard news.
Topics she is interested in include:
- Climate change
- Women’s issues
- Humanitarian disasters
If you have access to a place that CNN can’t get to then this would be of great interest to them.
CNN also has sponsored content such as the Inside Africa strand but these are managed by the sponsored content team, not Lindsay.
Lindsay was asked about who is watching and she said that CNN International was watched in 320m homes but she had no actual viewing figures. They have big audiences in Africa, South America and Asia.