The Situation Room: “Everything That’s Going On In The World Between 3 and 6”

By Brian 

The Situation Room is not going to be your father’s newscast. That’s what Wolf Blitzer told TV writers at the TCA Press Tour on Sunday. He explained how the format will be “looser” and “less formalistic” than a typical news show. “We’re going to take you behind the scenes and let viewers see what we’re getting when we’re getting it,” Blitzer said.

But many of the reporters at the press tour were skeptical. “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to be doing now?,” one TV writer asked. “I mean, aren’t you supposed to be gathering news now and as soon as you have the story, putting it on the air? I thought that was the whole point behind 24-hour news.”

Blitzer responded: “Well, it certainly is. And we will be doing it in a new way. What you won’t be seeing during these three hours is a traditional [news broadcast]…You won’t just be seeing an anchor sitting behind a desk, reading teleprompter and throwing the packages that reporters have put together. We’re going to try to do it in a more loose — in a looser — in a less formalistic style and let the viewers also see the feeds and get the information, take them behind the scenes so that they have a better appreciation of what we’re going through.”

The Situation Room “is a show that’s bringing you everything that’s going on in the world between 3 and 6,” Jon Klein said.

The 3pm hour will be tilted toward security: national security, homeland security, economic security. The 4pm hour will include a lot of politics. And the 5pm hour, CNN will try to put on “the first sort of early evening newscast that we can put together, but let it flow,” Blitzer said.

After the jump, Blitzer describes his new video wall, and Jon Klein says the show is “emblematic of where we’re taking CNN…”

> Blitzer: This is not going to be your father’s or your grandfather’s nightly newscast. This is going to be something a lot more exciting to the viewer, and I think in the end, a lot more helpful to the viewer because we’re not just going to package it and perfect it in the kind of way that maybe, you know, old-fashion television journalism. But I think in this day and age people want to get it as we get it.”

> Blitzer: “We’re going to be telling our viewers, which I think they’ll be interested in knowing — I’m a news junkie, and I’d be interested in knowing — “We’re following six or seven or eight stories right now. And let’s briefly tell you what we’re following,” and we’ve got the feeds coming in to show our viewers there’s this happening in California. There’s this happening in Washington. There’s this happening in London or Paris or Baghdad, and we can give the viewers constant updates in this new format that we’re putting together that I think will be compelling to viewers, especially the viewers that we have.”

> Blitzer: “We also have created in this new studio that we built…two walls of video screens that will be bringing in our feeds, our satellite feeds from around the country and around the world, and we’ll be able to show you simultaneously three or four or eight feeds coming in, and I’ll be able to walk from screen to screen and say, ‘We’re waiting for this news conference from NASA. Here’s what’s going on right there.’ We’ll go there when it happens…”

> Klein: “The Situation Room is emblematic of where we’re taking CNN. It’s got an aggressive focus on the news, on providing a range of stories, and showcasing the sheer number and depth and intelligence of all of the reporting and analytical resources that CNN’s got the world over.”