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Has CNN's All-News Strategy Become Old News?

The granddaddy of cable news programming relies on death and disaster to prosper
Has CNN's All-News Strategy Become Old News?

A sketch on the April 14 Saturday Night Live mocked CNN host Piers Morgan’s attempt to “desperately grasp at straws” in his efforts to cover the case of Trayvon Martin by “talking to lesser officials and tangential celebrities.” While the spoof was played for laughs, not everyone at the Time Warner all-news unit was feeling the joke.

In an era when Americans increasingly turn to laptops, smartphones, or iPads for routine news and headlines, CNN continues to rely on the business it virtually invented on cable: covering breaking stories. Events like the O.J. Simpson trial, the Japanese tsunami, or the weeks of protests over the killing of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer can be counted on to receive blanket coverage on the network. “Our bread and butter is in-depth coverage of breaking news,” says CNN Worldwide Managing Editor Mark Whitaker. “We have faith that will help us with the ratings.”