CNN the Cable News Network is celebrating 35 years of reporting the news around the world. So much has changed since the first episode aired on June 1, 1980 at 6:00 pm. News anchors were David Walker, and Lois Hart. The top stories of the day were about a brawl Reggie Jackson had over a parking spot, that ended with him running from gunfire, and the star of the TV show Lassie was arrested on drug charges.
The first news headline to be mentioned was of the civil rights leader Vernon Jordan’s attempted assassination, whom had a lengthy recovery and still continues his work today. Faulty fuel gauges on commercial air planes, super Tuesday, the political crisis in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Opec, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on oil prices, and the beginning of the hurricane season in the weather were some of the first stories on the first episode of CNN. These headlines are similar to today’s news; a private interview with the American president, problems with commercial airlines, and potential natural disasters. Different situations, but the same topics. Within that first hour of that show, there was mix of excitement, and sincerity.
The CNN news anchors and its look changed over the years, but on their 35th anniversary they look back to how it all started. News anchors Walker, and Hart were married in 1979, just before the premier of the Cable News Network. In 1990 they worked together at KCRA 3 on weekdays, doing the 5:00 and 6:30 pm news casts until November 26, 2008 when the couple retired. In their farewell speech, Hart mentioned that in their 18 years with the network, it was a team effort for the commitment to bring the news to the viewers of southern California. It was added that it could not have happened without the directors, editors, reporters, and photographers all working together. At the first commercial break of the CNN premier, Hart announced for everyone to stay tuned, that they would have all sorts of news now and forever from specials to sports.
The story on ‘super Tuesday’ was of significant importance for Ted Kennedy, and his effort to gain the support of the Democratic party for a nomination from Carter. Some of the stories CNN reported on that day were a bit distressing, such as the actor that played Timmy on Lassie up on charges for cocaine possession. In the Entertainment news the network was reviewing The Empire Strikes Back, while today there is anticipation of the seventh installment in the series. 35 years ago the anchors had to read the news off of a paper on their desk, and had to constantly look up at the camera, today they read from the teleprompter, which is right by the camera.
Today the top Breaking news on CNN is ‘Judges rule on Facebook threats’; and, in Entertainment news, actress Betsy Palmer (who played the killer in Friday the 13th) dies at 88. In politics today former Governor George Pataki talks about the issue of national security and 9/11. The faces changed over the years, but CNN is still brining the news of what is happening around the world, into the homes of Americans. After 35 years CNN remembers how it all started, and how things have changed over the years.
By Katherine Miller-Chichester
money.cnn.com: CNN’s first day: Reggie Jackson ducks gunfire, ‘Lassie’ star busted for drugs
KCRA.com: Dave Walker, Lois Hart retiring at months end, November 10, 2008
cnn.com: Actress Betsy Palmer, killer in Friday the 13th dies
Photo courtesy of Georgia National Guard”s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Photo 2 courtesy of Ayush’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License