CNN’s Walton: “Journalism is Key to What We Do. Fox is Doing Something Different”

By Chris Ariens 

The NYTimes’ Tim Arango interviews CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton about the growth (in ratings and profit) of his flagship network. A CNN employee since 1981, Walton rose to the top job in 2003. Arango writes when Walton took over, “CNN was in a deep funk, having been surpassed in the ratings by Fox News.”

“CNN had gone for 15 years without competition. Profits of the company were not where they should have been. There were management changes. It was like the perfect storm,” says Walton.

In discussing his competition, Walton says, “Journalism is key to what we do. Fox is doing something different.”

FNC’s response is classic FNC: “When the debates are over and CNN slides back down to MSNBC’s level, we assume Jim will return to the comfort of Time Warner’s witness protection program,” said spokeswoman Irena Briganti. CNN leaves most of the talking about the network to CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein.

In addition to winning the ad-friendly A25-54 demo for the month of February, Arango writes, CNN “has posted a compound annual growth rate of nearly 20 percent since 2004. Over that time, profits have grown from about $200 million to almost $400 million a year.”

Related: The Total Day cable ranker for last week. FNC (8), CNN (23), MSNBC (26).