CNN spruces newsgathering service; hires new correspondents

MUMBAI: In a bid to boost its broadcast and newsgathering operations, CNN has appointed new correspondents globally and will also be deploying a lap-top based Digital Newsgathering' (DNG) system for the network's broadcast and newsgathering operations, announced CNN International managing director Chris Cramer.


Pioneered by the 24-hour news network's New Delhi Bureau, the digital news gathering (DNG) exclusive to CNN, will be used by all 28 international bureaus.

"By pioneering this new technology and hiring the best journalists from around the world, CNN continues to be what all the competition strives to be, editorially sound and commercially strong. The announcements today underline why CNN is able to stay ahead of the competition," offered Cramer.

Exclusively developed by its in-house engineering team, CNN's DNG system combines new lightweight cameras, advanced satellite and internet communications technology. The technology helps the correspondents to report the news far more proactively and enable them to file stories for CNN's television, radio, wireless and internet services. According to the release, the technology will also enhance correspondent ability to respond quickly to breaking news as it happens.

As for the appointments, CNN has appointed Martin Soong as an anchor/correspondent for CNN International Asia Pacific region. He will be joining the regional presenting team in Hong Kong, on 1 April 2004. He will anchor the news programs produced out of the network's regional headquarters in Hong Kong and report from the territory and across the region. Prior to CNN International, he had been with CNBC Asia, as news editor and anchor, says a company release.

In the Middle East, CNN has appointed former NPR London bureau employee Guy Raz as Jerusalem correspondent to work alongside John Vause and bureau chief Tom Fenton. The second appointment at the Middle East bureau is that of Atlanta based Octavia Nasr, who takes on responsibilities as CNN's senior editor for Arab affairs. She has worked across the CNN networks for 14 years of experience. According to the release, her in-depth knowledge of the region will enable the network to bring global audience a fuller picture of the complex issues and events taking place in the Middle East.

As for the new digital gathering development, CNN has immediately begun the deployment of strategically trained international Video Correspondents to report from around the world. The first three video correspondents to use the technology are Alphonso Van Marsh, Ryan Chilcote and Karl Penhaul. These journalists showcased the technology during the 'breaking news' coverage of the capture of Saddam Hussein, the logistically challenging coverage of the Bam earthquake and the dramatic fast moving events surrounding the recent Georgia revolution, adds the release.

The trio will comprise Soong's core team. Based at the network's headquarters in Atlanta, Marsh was previously a writer, producer and correspondent for CNN International. He joined CNN in 1997 as a freelance correspondent and producer. He has been an associate producer for CNN and time in the investigative unit and has served as the interim bureau chief for CNN in Nairobi, Kenya, says the release.

Marsh, who has worked as a journalist in over 20 countries including Afghanistan, Egypt and Cuba, has received numerous awards for his international reporting.

Based at the network's Moscow bureau, Chilcote was previously a producer for CNN and has covered multiple stories from Russia and the former Soviet republics, including Russia's last two wars in Chechnya. He has also reported extensively from Afghanistan and has been a journalistic force outside of Russia in CNN's coverage of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. In 2003, he reported from the frontlines of Operation Iraqi Freedom from his embedded position with the 101st Airborne, adds the release.

Penhaul, who until today has been a freelance contributor for CNN, was an embedded journalist during the recent war in Iraq and has reported on the war in Afghanistan. He also covered Columbia extensively, including the drug trade, kidnappings, guerrilla tactics and internal strife in the country. Prior to working with CNN, Penhaul was an international correspondent for Reuters news agency in Bogotá, Colombia for four years.

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