CNN (Cable Network News) was launched on June 1, 1980. The brainchild of Ted Turner, CNN has revolutionized the world of news, affected American policy, and influenced the way Americans – and the world - think. Can students today even conceive of the 15-minute (later expanded to half-an-hour) news brought to us by ABC, CBS, and NBC back in the 1950s and 1960s? The news with Walter Cronkite was ‘family television time’ in our household when I was growing up. Now that half hour has expanded into twenty-four hours – and no longer ‘family discussion’ time.
CNN – and other 24/7 news stations – have backed a number of causes and politicians – although very subtly – and has had an influence on what we think and believe, hence continuing the traditional role of the press in America. It is also causing the decline – along with the spread of the Internet – of the printed newspaper, which has always provided a chance for the reader to study and reflect on the news.
Talk about the power of the press – or electrons!
What a discussion point for our students as the school year nears an end: perhaps a question such as ‘what is the effect of CNN on our perception of the President’?
And some people thought the idea of news being available 24/7 was silly and would never work It is admittedly fascinating the see images from around the world beamed into our living room whenever we want to turn to the news channel.
Essential Question: What long-range effects does the 24/7 news concept have on our perceptions of the world and our lifestyles?