CNN effect

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Can you believe it’s been 36 years since the dawn of 24 hour news?

In June 1980, CNN became the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage and was the first all-news television channel in the US.

Twenty-four-hour news seemed to garner instant appeal with the American public and made a dramatic impact on the nightly network newscasts, CBS, NBC and ABC. Bringing together the latest technology with the new news format. It was a powerful change to the industry. And a change to the way people watched and absorbed news.

Powerful stories, often with raw, unedited footage, gives live news a certain flavour which communicates real human emotion. It stood out against its competitors and carried a lot of credibility.

Have you heard of the CNN effect?

This effect was first noted when footage of starving children in Somalia pressured U.S. officials to send troops there. Horrifying footage of Somalis dragging the body of a dead American soldier through the streets followed, prompting U.S. officials to withdraw. The effect describes “saturation coverage” of events like the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the fall of Communism in eastern Europe, the first Gulf War, and the Battle of Mogadishu and the strong influence of the “right in your face” images have on political and social consciousness.

Fast forward to 2016. Citizen journalism ensures that pictures of “breaking news” are beamed straight to a global audience. Either bought up by traditional news channels, or spread on social channels. News can be fed to us instantly through live bloggers – at a speed the user can control.

We take 24 hour television for granted now, and instant access to news is part of our everyday life. We see people scrolling through their phones for tit bits of news and have access to stories with the click of a button. 24 hours of news. It’s a lot of content. It gets you thinking what is newsworthy? How to filter out the trash?

CNN in 1980: the social media of today – the perfect communications cocktail: an ability to cover events live, continuously, upside down and inside out. Citizen Journalists can do this now from their portable devices. But does this make news stations like CNN obsolete? Certainly not.  News is no longer just the 6.30 dinner time slot. It’s now a snack you can have anytime of the day. If it’s happening around the world, it’s bound to be shown on your screen shortly after, if not instantly.

The power of portable devices has made stories more accessible, more transparent and media more influential than ever. Live political debates, reports from war-torn areas, natural disasters and terror (think Sydney Siege).

If it’s not printed or trending it didn’t happen.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

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