CNN25: Reflections From Kagan, Robertson, And “CNN Originals” Davis & Maxwell

By Brian 

This is the third in a series of reflections on the last 25 years of CNN (Parts one and two):

> When I asked “CNN original” Jane Maxwell what CNN meant to her, she was stumped. “It’s my life,” she said. “I’ve spent half my life at CNN. It’s a fabulous idea that came true.” She was a true believer from the beginning, and always believed it would succeed. “Imagine: You could come home at any time and find out what was going on in the world. It was a great idea.” Now the senior VP of special events, Maxwell says CNN’s challenge is now to find the right balance of the news people want to see and the news people need to see.

> Rick Davis, CNN’s vice president for standards and practices, was in the Techwood newsroom for the first hours of CNN. “It was a great new frontier,” he recalled this afternoon. “We knew we [were creating] the next phase of television news — we were taking Ted’s vision and making it happen.” Davis said CNN has been “a great family.” He noted that the news landscape has changed dramatically in 25 years: “With the proliferation of sources of news, it’s a challenge,” he said, “but as the CNN News Group, we can be how you get your news in whatever form…News that is instant, but is deep and trustworthy.”

> “CNN gave me the opportunity to make a dream come true,” Daryn Kagan told me this afternoon. Kagan, then a local news anchor, wanted to try sports reporting. She was hired as an anchor and reporter for CNN/Sports Illustrated. Now a morning anchor, Kagan said CNN gives her a front row seat to history. “It’s been an opportunity to see the world…It’s like sitting in the front row of the roller coaster every day,” she said. So will CNN be around in another 25 years? “Absolutely,” Kagan said. “I think it will evolve in a way that we can’t even imagine yet — but one thing I think will never disappear is the public’s appetite for news.”

> International correspondent Nic Robertson is usually reporting from a faraway land, so being in Atlanta for the 25th anniversary is a treat. “CNN is like a family, and being here today and seeing all my friends and colleagues is absolutely fantastic,” he said before eating lunch on the Techwood lawn. Robertson recalled that the first Gulf War was a “real defining moment” for CNN. “It was proof that 24 hour news was working, it was proof that the audience wanted it. Here was a medium that could reach across borders and reach across diplomatic tables to get a message across,” he said.