CNN Producer Kim Segal, who is leaving the network to work as an attorney in the Broward County Public Defender’s office, sent a love letter via Facebook to her employer thanking them for paying for her law degree, but also lamenting the changes in the news business:
I loved you from the moment we met. It was a time when you cared more about coups than poop cruises, when people like Baby Doc would get more air time than a kid named Bieber and when news was the star. Oh how I long for that wonderful time when news was the star. Even then, some folks still called us Chicken Noodle News but more often we would hear Communist News Network. This was because of Ted. (Remember him? His name is still on a few sister networks, for now anyway) But Ted’s relationship with Castro did not influence our coverage and the things people said didn’t bother us because we were a very proud bunch of journalists. And a lot of journalists there were. Those of us pounding the pavement outnumbered the people behind desks pushing paper. There were no pundits or opinions just a 24 hour quest for objectivity and balance.
As happens in relationships, time changed us, yet I stuck by your side. I helped you fight when we were faced with cable competition. I defended decisions you made chalking them up as more money to spend on news. I loved you for sending me to places like DC for the Obama Inauguration and to Baghdad to manage the bureau. I’ve been to every state in the U.S. thanks to you, Steve Forbes, Bob Dole, Al Gore and Bill Clinton. But in the end it was time to go. We had grown apart, and I probably stuck around longer than I should have.
I left in your care many amazing people and I can only hope that they get treated with dignity and respect especially during this difficult time. NEVER forget that most of these people put their lives on the line for you – if not in war zones and riots than in hours spent proving their devotion!!!
Although I may long for the great old days I cannot thank you enough for making this break up so easy. Your financial support as I journeyed around the world was much appreciated. I returned home to face a big decision: do I enter a new relationship in the same profession of my first love or do I look for love elsewhere? Oh you may not remember, but years ago you graciously helped to pay for my law degree. I’ve always told you if I wasn’t a journalist I would be a lawyer. I think it’s time to give it a try so I have accepted a job as an attorney with the Broward County Public Defender’s office.
Over the past few years we may have grown far apart but know you will always have a special place in my heart.
The news business has changed, as Segal outlines. There is more of an effort to report on the sensational, or to sensationalize the news. Hard news is still being reported, but it often takes a back seat to celebrity news or other fluff. However, I doubt that the majority of the public would agree that CNN’s goal was to pursue objectivity and balance.
It probably was more fun for Segal—who has been with CNN since 1989—when the network was the dominant force in cable news. Then, along came Fox News, which toppled CNN as the top-rated cable news network, and MSNBC, which overtook them as the number two network, sending CNN into a ratings death spiral from which they are still struggling to recover.
CNN will survive, but it will likely never regain its former prominence.