CNN’s Jeanne Moos: ‘I Can’t Look at the News Without Thinking Funny’

By Alex Weprin Comment

Moos062510.bmp CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos gets profiled by Marisa Guthrie in this week’s issue of Broadcasting & Cable.

Moos, who specializes in quirky and offbeat stories, recalls how she came up through the reporting ranks the traditional way, via local television stations, before joining CNN in 1981.

While at CNN she covered the student uprising in Beijing, interviewed Mikhail Gorbachev and was stationed at the United Nations during the Persian Gulf war.

“You can’t be funny [at the U.N.],” Moos says. “You can’t write to video because there is no video. It’s the United Nations; it’s a bunch of guys sitting around a table. It’s completely limiting. Maybe I just see the world through a quirky lens. But I can’t look at the news without thinking funny.”

Her humorous stories have become a staple of the network’s programming, though not all of them make the cut. And of course, sometimes there is pushback:

But Moos and her producer Richard Davis will inevitably run afoul of somebody. The “Smoking Baby” segment produced some hang-wringing inside CNN. “Some people thought it was child abuse and we shouldn’t be showing it,” she says. “But I don’t believe in practically any censoring. We’re adults and if it’s disturbing, too bad. Life is disturbing.”

Guthrie also speaks to Moos’ former CNN colleague (and one-time producer) Christiane Amanpour, who starts her new job as host of “This Week” on ABC in August:

“She’s not one of these reporters who go out with a script already written and then shoots the pictures and does the interviews to match it,” Amanpour says. “And that was a hugely valuable lesson for me because it meant that whenever I pitched up in any kind of disaster zone or war zone, I didn’t go with a preconceived notion. I went out, I talked to people and only afterward sitting in the edit room did the story become clear.”