CNN’s Yellin sees role as providing context and insight

2 min read

At the first installment of the fall semester speaker series, the Shorenstein Center welcomed Jessica Yellin, chief White House correspondent for CNN, to speak about “Covering the White House in a Bare-knuckled Media Culture.”

Yellin outlined several “hazards” of working in cable news. First, the “rise of everyone as a reporter” has a great impact on her job. With a show of hands, the audience identified itself as people who blog, Tweet, and use smart phones with cameras — Yellin told them, “Your ability to report and participate in the newsgathering process impacts what I do in a very real sense. It makes it quicker and faster and my need to respond more immediate.”

Yellin sees another trend in the news industry: “Some outlets are moving toward more detailed coverage with less context.” She gave the example of Bloomberg which is “looking for reporters who will get market-moving insights.” Likewise, Politico is committed to “covering the minutia of the legislative process.” Both outlets are striving to provide substantial intelligence that will benefit their niche readers, but without providing larger context. At various cable networks, Yellin added, “anchors often have a bias,” but she clarified that “reporters are doing very straightforward reporting” — a distinction that is often “lost on viewers.”