CNN turns 30 quietly

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The 24-hour television news pioneer CNN, launched on June 1, 1980 by media mogul Ted Turner, marked its 30th anniversary without fanfare. With 600 affiliates in the US and foreign bureaus gathering international news, the channel has maintained a strong global presence but the question now is how it will survive the changing media landscape.

Cable News Network revolutionized television and news by inventing a network devoted to live breaking news coverage and analysis. The success of the once-innovative channel has led to other news operations operating in a similar style both around the world and at home.

Its balanced news coverage has been eclipsed by provocative viewpoints in the US in 1996 from rival networks, such as Rupert Murdoch's FOX News expressing rightwing conservative views and the liberal-leaning MSNBC personality-driven news shows.

With viewers dropping off in prime time since the 2008 presidential elections, CNN still remains a staple in news viewing with no plan to change its objective reporting style. When major news events happen, such as the Haiti earthquake, there is a surge in viewers, as other television networks sign off news and return to regular programming.

Defining moments that helped establish the fledgling network involved defining historical moments over the last three decades, including the shootings of President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II (1981), Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assassination (1984), Space Shuttle Challenger's explosion and Chernobyl's nuclear reactor meltdown (1986), China's Tiananmen Square demonstrations (1989), the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), and Nelson Mandela's release from prison (1990).

From the murder of Beatle John Lennon in December 1980 to Michael Jackson's death in 2009, the channel can cover the news from all angles with 24-hours to fill.

Besides celebrity deaths, it thrives during political scandals, high-profile court trials, wars, hurricanes, and other disasters.

The now-iconic simple red logo, which cost about $2,500 in 1980, was designed by a former college professor, Anthony Guy Bost in 48 hours, and has remained the same.

Just before CNN's launch, its founder Ted Turner announced, "We won't be signing off - until the world ends."