Launched on June 1, 1980 Ted Turner’s Cable News Network (CNN) continued people’s innate desire for news. CNN was the first 24-hour cable news program. CNN gave us “the sights as well as the sounds of the news became available 24 hours a day,” as Mitchell Stephens notes in his book “A History of the News.”
Before CNN, individuals waited for the 7 o’clock evening news to tell them of the days events. The internet didn’t exist and a daily newspaper only gave you the news a day after. CNN allowed for individuals to get the news they needed now rather than later. In 2000, twenty years after it first was launched, CNN could be viewed in over 212 countries with over 17 million individuals seeing CNN in their homes. That number has significantly grown in its now thirty year history.
In it’s first broadcast, CNN began reporting reliable news using the best tools that television had to offer. CNN’s first broadcast premiered with anchors Lois Hart and David Walker who read off of a typed script.
You can watch the full first hour broadcast of CNN in full via Youtube.com.
Beginning with an inaugural speech by founder Ted Turner, CNN paved the way for other cable news outlets such as MSNBC and FOX.
Speaking outside of the CNN center in Atlanta, Turner spoke about the three flags standing in front of him. The first was of the Georgia’s state flag following the American flag. Ted Turner paused on the significance behind the third flag standing in front of him: the flag of the Untied Nations,
“And over on the other side we have the flag of the Untied Nations because we hope that the Cable News Network with its international coverage and its greater depth coverage will bring both in the country and in the world, a better understanding of how people of different nations work together…”
Ted Turner’s vision of a more connected world has gone beyond television. Now with a click away, individuals can connect to each other through news and information through the internet. Ted Turner’s vision of what CNN’s potential was, could never have fully been imaged to the scale it is today in a world of 24-hour news consumption.
The Newseum looks at CNN throughout the years and its impact on news and news reporting.