CNN Adds Staff To Boost TV, Online Coverage

Despite a tough advertising environment, CNN is expanding its newsgathering operation. The cable news company says it plans to open 20 regional offices and will hire television journalists, as well as workers to its online department.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And let's go from the hardware to the content. Cable News Network, or CNN, is expanding its lineup of journalists. As other news outlets cut back and downsize, NPR's David Folkenflik reports on CNN's new plan to double the number of bureaus it has across the country.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Doubled? I've heard of news staffs being cut by 10 percent by 2030, even by nearly half, but doubled?

Mr. JON KLEIN (CNN): Now we'll be able to have our own feet on the ground, eyes and ears in more places, and then able to dispatch them to other locations nearby as news happens.

FOLKENFLIK: That's Jon Klein, president of CNN's U.S. network. Let's be clear: He's only really talking about adding a handful of new staffers. Others will be redeployed in less-covered places like Columbus, Ohio, Orlando and Seattle.

The move is intended to give CNN an edge over its peers. Fox News has 11 domestic bureaus. NBC has eight and a presence in several other American cities, while NPR has 18 bureaus and offices.

The CNN journalists involved may not be household names, and they may not provide the very highest production values, but they'll churn out written stories and videotape for the Web site and the work will also appear on television.

The bureaus themselves may well turn out to be cubicles at local affiliates, and why not? All these staffers will need is a laptop, a camera and a high-speed Internet connection.

As CNN's Klein says, it's less expensive and far more nimble than relying on TV satellite trucks.

Mr. KLEIN: So the technology unfetters us and unleashes us and lets us be wherever the news happens.

FOLKENFLIK: ABC News took a similar tack last year in sending seven younger multi-media producers to foreign cities where the network did not previously have a presence, glimmers of hope in an industry steeped in despair. David Folkenflik, NPR News.

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