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Can Jake Tapper's The Lead redefine CNN in a TV world where talking about news works better than reporting it?

Jake Tapper


Jake Tapper



When we first meet on the telephone, CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper tells me my voice sounds nothing like my Twitter comments – whatever that means.

In truth, it's a joke referencing the fact we’d communicated on Twitter for a while before our first telephone interview last week; a measure of how things happen in today’s social media-fueled journalism universe.

But it’s also a measure of changing times that Tapper is so plugged in, even before starting his new show for CNN, The Lead.

In a column for the newspaper this morning, I outlined his vision: an expansive look at the day’s news including everything from comic book references to the latest sports controversy.

The structure of cable news is working against him. CNN’s brand is wrapped up in reporting the news, but rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC excel by talking about the news people already think they know, using ideological frames to keep viewers loyal (according to a Project for Excellence in Journalism study released today, 85 percent of MSNBC's time for news stories was filled by commentary and discussion, versus 15 percent reporting on three random days choasen in 2012).

Click here to check out Tapper’s explanation for why he can beat those odds. The Lead debuts at 4 p.m. today.

[Last modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 9:27am]


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