Today In History: CNN Goes Live
Today in 1980, CNN made its first television broadcast. CNN was the first network of its kind, showing news twenty-four hours a day. It would set a benchmark for all future news networks.
CNN came on air at 6 p.m. Eastern time with a story about Vernon Jordan, an assassinated civil rights leader. That story would be the first of many, as CNN rose to a position of dominance in the news ratings.
The network was originally only available to under two million homes in America. Now, it has a reach of 89 million estimated households in the United States and 160 million worldwide.
It was originally Ted Turner’s idea. Turner bought a local Atlanta TV station in 1970 and transformed it into a “superstation,” which got national exposure.
People originally thought CNN was going to cave. It wasn’t taken seriously, and was given the nickname “Chicken Noodle Network” by its critics. Meanwhile, Ted Turner bought the Satellite News Channel, eliminating its main competition in the process.
CNN was obviously a success. It established itself as the network with the best live coverage of world events. It was catapulted to its status as one of the biggest news networks in the world with its Persian Gulf War coverage in 1991.
CNN merged with Time Warner in 1996. In 2000, it also merged with America Online.
In 2007, CNN became the first news network to broadcast in high definition. They still pull in massive ratings and are one of the most influential voices in the current media landscape. Their top personalities are Anderson Cooper, Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer.
CNN continues to expand its programming. They also have a very active online news presence, publishing pieces of journalism on their website and on social media. CNN is also the go-to institution for moderating presidential debates.