Keep the News on CNN "Headline News" sign now

Mr. Jim Walton
President
CNN News Group
Cable News Network L.P. LLP
1 CNN Center NW
Atlanta, GA 30303

Dear Mr. Walton:

In a transparent attempt to boost ratings, CNN Headline News has debuted a bundle of evening programming called "Headline Prime". Twenty-four hour news on the half-hour, a format pioneered by Headline News, has been preempted from 7-10 pm by ratings-driven programming such as "Show Biz Tonight", and "Nancy Grace".

"Headline Prime" only serves to further erode the CNN brand and the credibility of its news operation. The decline in quality at the CNN networks has been accelerating since the departure of CNN founder Ted Turner. The latest changes only reinforce the image of AOL Time Warner as an organization lacking clear direction and willing to sacrifice quality in the name of quarterly performance.

Beyond the misguided programming overhaul at Headline News, there are deeper problems at CNN. A growing dependence on taped programming in the evening creates the image of an international news network not equipped to handle breaking overnight developments. That vulnerablity became evident during the early hours of the Asian Tsunami disaster, which CNN failed to cover. A rapidly expanding portion of CNN's schedule is dedicated to sensational court reporting and entertainment news programming. We are dissappointed that a similar trend is emerging at Headline News.

We urge CNN management to bring continuous news coverage back to Headline News. We also ask that CNN and AOL Time Warner together redefine CNN's mission and recommit to quality. It is time to turn CNN's rudder in the right direction.

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Lloyd ZhangBy:
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