THE BIRTH OF A NETWORK:
AN INSIDE LOOK AT CNN EN ESPAFNOL
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR T IE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
This thesis is dedicated to my parents Daniel and Rita whose continued support and
encouragement have allowed me aim high and succeed.
My sincere gratitude is extended to Dr. Milagros Rivera-Sanchez who inspired
this study and encouraged my work when it at times seemed impossible. Dr. Rivera-
Sanchez spent countless hours revising this work and making incredibly insightful
suggestions. I thank her for her honesty, dedication and verve. She has taught me the
meaning of hard work and devotion.
I would also like to thank Dr. F. Leslie Smith whom I met as an undergraduate
student. His encouragement of my academic and professional careers has been
unparalleled. His expertise and teaching have been an invaluable tool on this journey. 1
also extend my gratitude to Dr. John Wright for his advice and encouragement. To Dr.
Wright I also extend my thanks for teaching me how to perform and utilize research.
Also, 1 extend my sincere gratitude to the staff of the graduate division. Jody Hedge and
Margi Hatch always made things work when they seemed impossible. They were always
professional and caring. They are an incredible asset to the graduate division and the
University of Florida. I am grateful to have had the pleasure of working with them.
My sincerest gratitude goes to the staff and management of CNN en Espahol. I
especially thank Christopher Crommett for welcoming this study and offering assistance.
I must also mention the following individuals who granted interviews for the research:
Bob Hesskamp, Debra Morton, Donna Mastrangelo, Caroline Rittenberry, Rolando
Santos and Madeleine Wiener. Each person aided the strength of the study. I personally
thank every person for their warmth and willingness to offer information. I also thank
them for their interest in seeing the project succeed.
I thank my great graduate school friends Jacques, Siva, Radhi and Steve. We
shared many good memories and I thank them for their friendship and encouragement. I
also thank my friend Miguel for always having a kind word.
Finally, I thank my family. I especially thank my parents for their encouragement
of my graduate studies. Their support encouraged me to finish the project. For that, I am
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS ....................................................................... ..................... iii
ABSTRACT .................. ...................................................................... vii
1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................... 1
The Television Business .................... ................................................................1
The Trends of Increased Competition...................... ..... ............................2
The Spanish-Language Television Business........................ ......................4
Purpose of the Research............ .... .............................................................6
Reserach Questions ..............................................7
O organization of the Thesis ................................................................................... 7
2 DEFINITION OF CNN EN ESPANOL AND REVIEW OF LITERATURE ............9
What Is CNN en Espafiol? ..............................................................................9
Existing Research and Literature ... ................................................ ..................... 10
3 M ETHODOLOGY.................................................................... ....................... 25
The Benefits of Qualitative Research ................................... ...................25
Case Study.......................... .......................................... 26
Participant Observation................................................ 27
Description of the Interviews....................................................... ....................28
Other Data Used in the Study ...................................................................31
4 DISCUSSION OF THE INTERVIEWS.......................................... ......................34
The Importance of Transcription Quality............................ ....................34
Data Yielded Through the Interviews........................................ ....................35
This Is "CNN........................................................36
Initial R research ................................................................................................ 36
Public Relations and Marketing for CNN en Espafiol .......................................... 37
Defining CNN en Espaiol's Audience .............................................40
Editorial Content of CNN en Espafol ...............................................43
Operation of CNN en Espafiol ........................................................................47
Comparing CNN en Espahol to CNN........................................ ......................48
The Day the Network Came Together ....................................... ......................51
5 FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS OF THE RESEARH................... ....................53
Overview of the Findings........... ..... ..........................................................53
Creating the Network ................ .................................................................58
The Person Behind the Network.............................................. ........................ 58
Initial Research and the Development of the Business Plan..................................59
Finding a Location for CNN en Espafol.... ......................................................61
The CNN en Espafiol Facility ................................................ .......................63
A Nonlinear Environment......................................................................66
Staffing the N etwork............................................ .............. .......................... 68
Selling the Network to Advertisers and Cable Operators....................................70
Operation of CNN en Espafiol ............................................... ......................71
Observations of the Researcher............................................................................71
Pre-Launch Operation of CNN en Espafiol....................... ...................... 71
The CNN en Espafiol Program Schedule (Grid)................................................72
The Departments Within CNN en Espafiol......................................................74
A Day in the Life of CNN en Espafiol ..................................... .......................79
Comparing CNN en Espafol to the Other CNN Networks .................................86
Problems Encountered by the Network............................................ ......................91
The Employee Technology M ix ................................................. ......................91
Technological Issues ............... ........................................................94
The Future of the Network........................................................................96
Conclusions about CNN en Espafol's Startup and Operation...................................99
Limitations of the Study and Avenues for Future Research ....................................02
A INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE ................. ...................... 105
B STANDARD ETHICS PROTOCAL.............................................. .....................107
C GLOSSARY OF TERMS............................................................... .....................108
D CNN EN ESPANOL RUNDOWN.................. .............................................. 112
E CNN EN ESPANOL PROGRAM GRID ................................... ...................... 115
REFERENCES .................................................................. ............................122
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................... 134
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication
THE BIRTH OF A NETWORK:
AN INSIDE LOOK AT CNN EN ESPAfOL
Chairman: Dr. Milagros Rivera-Sanchez
Major Department: Mass Communication
Television is a business that depends on advertising dollars for success. As
audiences are given more viewing choices, programmers have had to target new
audiences for revenue. This has resulted in the targeting of diverse markets and the
creation of new television and cable networks to reach those markets.
This thesis analyzes the 24-hour Spanish-language cable news network, CNN en
Espafol. The purpose of the thesis is to determine what type of research, if any, was
necessary to launch CNN en Espafiol. The thesis also examines and analyzes how CNN
en Espafiol was created and how it is operates on a daily basis.
The thesis uses a case study approach to gather data about the startup and daily
operation of CNN en Espafiol. Through participant observation and interviews, the
researcher was able to determine what type of research was necessary to create CNN en
Espafiol. The researcher was also able to examine and provide insight about the startup,
launch, and daily operation of the network. The findings indicate that CNN en Espafol
was created primarily as a business decision, but research played a primary role in
determining the name of the network as well as in deciding how to market the network.
The study concludes that there are three key factors that have contributed to CNN
en Espafiol's success. First are the founders, or managerial staff behind the network.
Without their expertise and vision, CNN en Espafiol would not exist. The second factor
is technology. CNN en Espafiol utilized technology to create a digital, nonlinear network.
Based on this technology, the founders developed a program schedule that would allow
CNN en Espaiol to provide 24-hours of news and information programming within a
limited business plan. The third element in CNN en Espafiol's success is its editorial and
operations staff. The employees of CNN en Espafiol made the project work. This thesis
shows how these factors contributed to the creation and current operation of CNN en
Television is the first truly democratic culture--the first culture available to
everybody and entirely governed by what the people want. (The New
York Times, 1969)
The Television Business
Like any business, the pivotal goal of the communications industry is to turn a
profit. Cable television is no exception. Since its birth, cable television has tried to
compete with traditional over-the-air broadcast networks.
Audience data for cable, local market, and network television are supplied by the
The A.C. Nielsen Company (Wimmer and Dominick, 1997, 291). Nielsen Media
Research, formerly part of the A.C. Nielsen Company, provides estimates of audience
size and composition for commercial advertisers as well as television programmers
(Nielsen Media Research, 1999). Nielsen Media Research estimates that $40 billion is
spent on the buying and selling of national and local advertising every year. This buying
and selling concerns the transactions between advertisers and the television stations or
cable networks which air the advertisers' commercials.
As of March, 1999, Neilsen Media Research estimates that there are 101,212,200
total households in the United States. Of those households, 99,391,780 have televisions.1
I The numbers were obtained from the Nielsen Media Research regional office in Atlanta,
The potential revenue for reaching approximately 100 million homes is enough to
continually create increased competition between cable television operators and
The Trends of Increased Competition
As television became popular in the mid 1950s, it pushed the dominant medium
of radio from its position as the leader of mass media entertainment (Eastman, 1993,
112). In 1950, network radio advertising accounted for $215 million in total revenue. By
1953, that number had dropped to less than $40 million (Eastman, Head, and Klein, 1989,
376). In just a few years, television, in its "Golden Age," had seized the power of radio
(Nielsen Media Research, 1999).
Television had taken the advertising dollars away from radio. The established
radio networks ABC, NBC, and CBS were able to survive due to the revenues generated
from their co-owned television operations (Eastman, 1993, 399). To compete with the
more alluring offerings of television, radio had to narrow its programming. In essence,
radio was attempting to reach audience niches. These smaller audiences, that would tune
in for a specific type of programming, would allow radio stations to compete and survive
(Eastman, Head, and Klein, 1989, 376).
Today, cable television offers alternatives to the traditional over-the-air broadcast
networks.2 Much like television pushed radio from supremacy as a mass media entity,
cable television continually challenges broadcasters for their viewing audience.
2 ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC are examples of the current over-the-air broadcast
networks. They do not require wired cable connections to be received in a viewer's
Cable television consists of cable network operators, cable networks, and cable
system operators. The cable network operator is the company or group that operates a
cable network or networks. A cable network is the cable television channel that carries a
specific type of programming. The cable network is very similar to a over-the-air
broadcast network, but it is controlled by the cable network operator. Cable system
operators are responsible for carrying a particular cable network's signal via a cable
television system. It is the cable system operator that delivers cable television to people's
homes. The cable networks that appear on that system are provided by cable network
operators (Eastman, Head, and Klein, 1989, 253-257).
Cable is distinct from over the air television in that it is a multichannel technology
(Eastman, 242). A cable system delivers multiple channels including cable networks and
over-the-air broadcast networks to consumers. Therefore, a cable network operator must
consider other cable networks and over-the-air broadcasters as primary competition, and
economic survival in this environment has become more difficult (Eastman, Head, and
Klein, 251). For this reason, cable networks have begun to search for new target
audiences and audience niches that have not traditionally been seen as revenue sources
The increases in competition, along with increases in the number of networks,3
has led to the targeting of "untapped" markets, including, but not limited to, Latin
3 The increase in the number of networks is not limited to cable television. There are
also new over-the-air broadcast networks including, The Warner Brothers Network (WB),
the United Paramount Network (UPN), and the PAX TV network.
The Spanish-Language Television Business
The market which is the focus of this study is Latin America and its Spanish-
speaking inhabitants. Latin America includes everything from the Southern tip of
Argentina to the border of the United States and Mexico (Albiniak, 1997, 67). It is a
large region which encompasses the entire continent of South America, Central America
and a majority of the Caribbean Islands. However, the Hispanic audience of Latin
America is not restricted to these countries south of the United States.
In 1978, Time magazine wrote, "Hispanic Americans, now 19 million strong, are
the fastest-growing minority group in the U.S." (1978, 48). The United States Census
Bureau (1999) now estimates that 11% of the United States' population is of Hispanic
origin. That number is expected to reach 25% by the year 2010 (Shaw, 1996, 12), which
would make Hispanics the largest ethnic group in the United States (Lieberman, 1996,
3B). Thus, interest in reaching the Latin American and Hispanic, or more specifically, a
Spanish-speaking audience, has become a pivotal focus of broadcasters and cable
In 1995, U.S. Hispanics alone spent over $200 billion on goods and services
(Shaw, 12). This figure continues to grow along with the notion that Hispanic consumers
are among the most loyal brand-name buyers (Lieberman, 3B). Miguel Alfaro Jr., a
native Mexican and director of operations and sales of a California Univision4 affiliate,
says of Hispanic consumers:
Latino consumers [are] very, very loyal. Not only that, but we always
bring our family members. It's a cultural thing. We'll frequent businesses
4 Univision is a 24-hour entertainment based Spanish-language cable network.
as long as we're invited to them. If we're treated right, we'll go back even
if we have to travel. And we'll encourage family and friends to go there.
(March, 1999, 13)
In Latin America, cable penetration is hovering at 10% (Albiniak, 67). While this
number seems small, the region contains nearly 90 million television households (Rother,
1997b, 11). Thus, Latin America has almost as many television homes as the United
States. Some estimates indicate that there are potentially 450 million television viewers
in Latin America (Rother, 1997c). A 1995 survey by cable programmers indicated that
Hispanics in the United States requested Spanish news above all other cable services
(Lieberman, 3B). However, this survey did not initiate the trend of programming for
Hispanics in Latin America. It was the prospect of profiting from a region with nearly as
many television households as the United States that became the driving force in the trend
of programming for Hispanic audiences in Latin America.
The low levels of cable penetration in Latin America are due to the physical
requirements of a cable television system. Because cable television requires a terrestrial
cable connection to deliver its signal, it is not as prevalent in Latin America as in the
United States. In the United States, cable system operators have been able to take
advantage of the telephone system by running their cable television lines on existing
telephone poles. Unfortunately, Latin America has a lower telephone density than the
United States and this has slowed the spread of cable.
But South America has taken advantage of other technologies, such as satellites,
since the late 1960s (Ospina, 1994, 24). Ospina (1994) notes that due to the topography
and geography of the continent, there have been developments in one-way downlink
technologies. Thus, there is a large prospect not only for cable networks, but for home
satellite technologies, such as direct broadcast satellites and other television receive-only
(TVRO) services, to deliver the signals of those cable networks to the Latin American
region (Ospina, 24). Because these downlink technologies do not require physical
terrestrial cable lines to deliver a signal, they have allowed cable networks to target
Hispanic audiences in Latin America.
The Hispanic audiences of the United States and Latin America are invaluable to
future growth for advertisers trying to reach a loyal customer base. Pay television in
Latin America alone is expected to generate $2.5 billion annually in advertising and
subscriber fees by the year 2000 (Rother, 1997b, 11). For the cable network operator or
broadcaster, this market is the future.
Purpose of the Research
To date, there is no reserach available which examines how a cable news network
is created. This study investigates how competition has led to the tapping of a specific
market for potential revenue. In particular, this study examines the birth of the Spanish-
language cable news network Cable News Network en Espafol (CNN en Espaiol).
Translated, CNN en Espafiol means "CNN in Spanish."
The goal of this study is to conduct an in-depth examination of what is necessary
to launch a cable news network in order to understand how that network is created and
operated. The study will examine the steps leading to the launch of the network and will
follow the network through its daily operation. In the case of CNN en Espafol, we are
afforded the unique opportunity to not only examine the creation of a network, but also to
examine the trend of targeting a diverse market.
This thesis will examine the steps taken to create CNN en Espaiol, from its
conception to its launch. By conducting an in-depth examination of what is necessary to
put a cable news network on the air, the successes and failures of CNN en Espafiol can
serve as a model for future ventures of this type.
This thesis will go beyond the available literature by examining the steps taken to
create and operate CNN en Espafiol. As noted, the existing research focuses on
audiences, viewing, and programming. This study will address those issues, but as they
pertain to the development of CNN en Espafiol. The questions that will be the focus of
this thesis are:
* What type of research was done to determine the need for CNN en Espafiol?
* What were the necessary steps in creating CNN en Espaiiol?
* How does such a cable news network operate on a daily basis?
Organization of the Thesis
Chapter 2 contains a description of CNN en Espaiol and its existence within the
CNN family of news networks. The chapter also contains a review of literature, which
examines existing studies of Spanish-language television. It focuses on studies that
examine Spanish-language television news and Spanish-language cable networks. This
section also examines CNN en Espafiol's sister network, CNN.
Chapter 3 will focus on the case study and focused interview methodology. This
chapter will define the methodology and define various elements of the case study and
interview. A discussion of the interviews will comprise Chapter 4. Chapter 5 will
present the findings and analysis of the case studies and interviews, while Chapter 6 will
consist of conclusions and suggestions for further research.
DEFINITION OF CNN EN ESPANOL AND REVIEW OF LITERATURE
What Is CNN en Espafiol?
CNN en Espafiol is a descendent of the U.S.-based, 24-hour cable news channel
Cable News Network (CNN). Both networks are operated by the North American cable
network operator Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). Both CNN and CNN en Espafiol
offer 24-hour cable news programming, but the networks differ in program content and
CNN en Espafiol is part of the CNN News Group, which consists of six cable
television networks distributed via satellite (CNN News Group, 1999). The other five
components of the CNN News Group are: CNN, Cable News Network Headline News
(CNN Headline News), Cable News Network International (CNNI), Cable News Network
Financial News (CNNfn) and Cable News Network Sports Illustrated (CNN/SI).
Inclusive to the CNN News Group are two radio networks,1 nine Internet World
Wide Web (WWW) sites, CNN's syndicated news service CNN Newsource, and three
private out-of home networks. These three private networks are not available on
consumer cable systems. CNN's private out-of-home networks are CNN Airport
Network, Accent Health, and CTN College Television Network. These networks are
I The CNN News Group has an English radio news service, CNN Radio, and a Spanish-
language radio news service, "CNN Radio Noticias" (CNN Radio News).
targeted at specific audiences and can be seen only in selected locations. CNN Airport
Network is seen in 32 airports within the United States. Accent Health can be seen in the
waiting rooms of doctors' offices, and CTN can be seen on over 270 college and
university campuses. Together, the CNN News Group reaches over 800 million people
throughout the world (CNN News Group, 1999).
CNN en Espaiol is unique because it is the first 24-hour Spanish-language cable
news network launched by the North American-based Turner Broadcasting Company,
Inc.2 However, CNN en Espafiol is not the first all-Spanish news channel launched by a
North American company. The broadcast networks National Broadcasting Company
(NBC) and CBS Corporation (CBS) had both launched 24-hour Spanish-language news
channels prior to CNN en Espaiol's March, 1997 launch. NBC had launched Canal de
Noticias (News Channel) in 1993 (Galetto, 1997b, 2). In 1996, CBS launched CBS
Telenoticias (CBS Television News)3 (Lieberman, 3B). On March 17, 1997, after 5 years
of planning, CNN launched CNN en Espahol (Davalos, 1997).
Existing Research and Literature
There is a significant body of research examining Spanish-language television. A
majority of this research has focused on Spanish-language broadcast television in the
United States. Because CNN en Espaiol is aimed primarily at Latin America, and
because it is a cable network, its study raises different questions.
2 CNN en Espafiol is not the first Spanish-language cable network launched by TBS.
TBS had launched the entertainment-based TNT Latin America in 1991.
3 Telenoticias had been on the air since 1994, but Westinghouse, owner of CBS bought
the channel in 1996. It was renamed CBS Telenoticias.
Research and literature on Spanish-language television has investigated topics
including minority television programming in the United States (Marshall, 1974), the
influence of television on the political transition in Spain (Maxwell, 1995), and the flow
of television programs from the United States to Latin America regions (Caraballo &
Wes Marshall's book Minority Television Programming: Fiesta (1974) studied
the development and creation of a minority television program in the United States. This
book details the developmental stages of a minority television program and provides
guidelines that others can use to develop minority programming. The book provides
information on all aspects of developing minority programming from the initial program
proposal and budgets to the production and execution of the program. It is an invaluable
tool in understanding minority television programming, but the book focuses on the
development of one particular type of program, as opposed to the station or network that
would carry such a program.
Richard Maxwell's The Spectacle of Democracy: Spanish Television,
Nationalism, and Political Transition (1995) examines social transition and its effect on
television in Spain. The book examines how television in Spain was changed as the
country went through its conversion from dictatorship to democracy. While the book
provides insight into Spanish television and how it was changed by political transition, it
does not focus on a particular broadcast or cable television network. Maxwell's work
deals with how the institution of television in Spain changed as a whole. His work does
not focus on a particular program or a particular network. It should also be noted that
because the focus of Maxwell's work is Spain, it does not examine Hispanics in the
United States or Latin America.
Caraballo and Eliut (1991) examined cable television in Puerto Rico. The focus
of their study was the potential impact of English-language cable television on the
cultural and political attitudes of Puerto Ricans. They examined how the Puerto Rican
media changed as VCRs became readily available to Puerto Ricans and as cable
television was introduced to the island. Although this study deals with cable television, it
is concerned with the effects of English-language cable television on Hispanics. While
helpful in understanding the effects that English-language cable television has had on
Puerto Rican media, it does not examine the creation or operation of a particular network.
The study focuses on the effects of cable television as a whole, rather than how a
particular network operates.
Other work on Hispanics and Hispanic television has included topics such as how
political science is affected by the mass media (Fox, 1993), bilingual minority television
programs (Barrera, 1992), the flow of television programs from the United States to
Latin America (Chen, 1987), Hispanic television and cultural representations in the
United States (Lozano, 1993), the marketing of television programs to Hispanics in the
United States (Soruco, 1985), and how Hispanic characters are portrayed on Spanish-
language television (Tituana, 1988).
Elizabeth Fox's 1993 dissertation International Relations and National Policies of
Latin American Broadcasting explains how the mass media in Latin America experienced
rapid growth to the point of ubiquity. The result of this mass media growth was a change
in how Latin Americans received their news and information and how they spent their
free time. Fox examines "patterns of conflict and accommodation" that resulted from the
rapid growth of mass media in Latin America. She compares the relationships and
spheres of influence of eight Latin American countries and their national broadcasting
policies. By examining eight countries, Fox builds a foundation for understanding the
development of domestic media policies while assessing the strength of influences from
the United States. Fox's study is useful in understanding media policies and potential
media growth for countries in Latin America.
Aida Barrera (1992) examined the making of bilingual minority children's
television programming. Barrera's dissertation, Multiculturalism Before Its Time: The
Making of"Carrascolendas," focuses on the making of"Carrascolendas," a bilingual,
multicultural program which addressed the needs of Mexican-American children as well
as the needs of children from other Hispanic groups. Barrera uses a historical and
autobiographical approach, as she was the creator of the "Carrascolendas" program. The
study examines the design of the program as well as issues in education and public
broadcasting, which were necessary to the development of the minority television
program. This study is valuable in understanding minority programming for children. It
is also useful in understanding how this type of programming represented
multiculturalism. Although the study examines a program aimed at Hispanics, the target
group is Hispanic children in the United States, not adults who would watch news
programming. It should also be taken into account that the "Carrascolendas" program
aired on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), not a cable network.
Sheuan-Ling Chen's 1987 thesis entitled The Flow of Television Programs from
United States to Latin America: A Comparative Survey of Two Weeks' Television
Schedules in 1973 and 1983 explored a 10-year period to discover developments in the
flow of television programs from the United States to Latin America. Chen compared
two weeks of television schedules from 16 Latin American countries in 1973 and 1983.
Chen found that the amounts of programming emanating from the United States and
flowing to Latin America differed for each country studied. Chen concluded that
government intervention in broadcast policies varies greatly in Latin America, and this
contributed to the variations in amounts of programming which flowed from the United
States to different Latin American countries. This study is useful in gaining an
understanding of how involved Latin American governments are in broadcast policies.
However, the data used to conduct this study are over 10 years old. At the time the latest
data were taken (1983), the amount of U.S. programming available for export was not as
great as it is today. Also, this study does not take into account cable television, which is
currently more readily available, and it only studies television programming, and program
Elizabeth Lozano (1993) conducted a cultural study of Hispanic television in the
United States. Her dissertation examines "America" as a symbolic and material space
and it examines the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States. Lozano
investigates how this population growth has allowed Hispanics to emerge as a dominant
minority group in the United States. She also examines Hispanic television as an archive
of Hispanic presence and influence in television programs while examining how
television affects Hispanics in the United States. Lozano's work explains how Hispanic
television operates within both the Hispanic and American cultures. It also details how
Hispanic television mixes the cultures, thus redefining them and restructuring cultural
identities and differences. She notes that this mixture has resulted in the emergence of a
combination of Anglo American and Latin American cultures, which constitute a unique
Gonzalo Rafael Soruco's 1985 dissertation Marketing Television Programs In The
United States: The Case of The Hispanic Audience examines differences in television
viewing habits of Hispanics living in the United States. Soruco examined Hispanic
audiences' choice of Spanish or English programming and how acculturation affects
program choice. Soruco concluded that viewing habits differed from one Hispanic
subgroup to another and this could be due to acculturation. However, the behaviors
exhibited in this study could not be generalized to other Hispanic populations. It is
important to note that the data used in this study were collected in 1983 by Arbitron, Inc.,
which no longer provides television audience data. As with other studies examining
Hispanics in the United States, this study does not examine the operation of a cable news
network, nor does it examine programming that is targeted to Latin America.
Juan Francisco Tituana (1988) examined occupational portrayals of Hispanic
characters in Spanish-language television comedies. Tituana performed a content
analysis of 33 television programs. He found that male characters portrayed higher status
occupations and had greater amounts of on-screen television time than female characters.
Tituana concluded that the Hispanic cultural tradition of males having a higher societal
role was reflected in Spanish-language television comedies.
While the aforementioned works concerns Spanish-language television or
Hispanics, they do not examine cable networks or news programming. The following
studies examine Spanish-language news and Spanish-language cable networks,
Sylvana Paternostro's 1993 article "News Caliente: Tabloid TV with a Latin
Accent" examines two Spanish-language tabloid news programs, "Noticias y Mas" (News
and More) and "Ocurri6 Asi" (It Happened This Way). The tabloid programs are
produced by the Univision and Telemundo television networks, respectively. Paternostro
discusses the content of the programs and the criticism received by the programs. This
article provides some insight into the programming of Univision and Telemundo, both
Hispanic networks based in the United States. The article does not examine the networks
themselves, nor does it examine any other news programming produced by the networks.
America Rodriguez (1996) studied the objectivity and ethnicity in Spanish-
language newscasts. Her study focused on the production of Univision's nightly national
newscast, "Noticiero Univision" (Univision Newscast). Rodriguez examined the
newscasts' audience, the journalists within the newscasts, and the presentation of the
news within "Noticiero Univision." Her goal was to analyze the objectives of Univision
as a commercial enterprise as they pertained to the production and objectivity of
"Noticiero Univision" (1996, 59).
Rodriguez concluded that although the production of"Noticiero Univision"
applies many of the same "commercial and professional processes" of U.S.-based
newscasts, it ultimately denationalizes its intended audience (1996, 80-81). It is
important to note that Univision's target audience is U.S. Hispanics, not Latin Americans
living in Latin America (Rodriguez, 1996). Thus, her study finds that "Noticiero
Univision" denationalizes recent Latin American immigrants in the United States and
renationalizes them as U.S. Hispanics (1996, 81).
Rodriguez's study is very important in examining the production and objectivity
within a Spanish-language newscast. However, although she studied Spanish-language
news, Rodriguez was limited by the fact that Univision's primary audience is U.S.
Hispanics. Her study provides invaluable insight into the production of a Spanish-
language newscast and how it compares to U.S. newscasts, but the focus was on the
content and production of a single news program, not on the operation of the network that
provides such a program.
Nicholas Alfred Valenzuela (1985) studied the organizational development of a
non English- language television network in the United States. He used an
organizational environments model to analyze the organizational development of the now
defunct Spanish International Network (SIN).4 The audience Valenzuela studied was
Hispanics living in the United States. In part, Valenzuela also examined news production
and agenda setting for SIN.
The organizational environments model states that the degree of success or
failure of an organization can be judged by comparisons to similar organizations, such as
competitors (Valenzuela, 1985, 66). Valenzuela notes that the structure of organizational
environments allows for a complete and readily accessible method for analyzing mass
4 SIN was not a 24 hour cable news network. The network is now known as Univision.
The organizational environments model also allows for analysis of an institution's
interaction within the societies in which it operates (1985, 67). Valenzuela's study had
two main goals. First, he wanted to test the usefulness of the organizational environments
model. Second, he sought to identify what factors enabled the Spanish-language
television network SIN to be established and to survive in the highly competitive industry
of television broadcasting. Valenzuela's objective was that his study prove useful to
communication researchers studying other mass media institutions, such as broadcasting
companies, cable television organizations, direct broadcast satellite companies, low-
power television stations, etc. (1985, 9).
Valenzuela notes that organizational environments literature is "ultimately
concerned with the issue of effective organizational management" (1985, 68).
Organizational environments theory, thus, examines how a business survives within its
competitive environment. Burgelman (1994) states that organizational environments
theory also examines how businesses strategically withdraw from existing businesses
while redirecting or shedding competencies associated with these former businesses.
Thus, it seems that organizational environments theory could provide an excellent base
for studying CNN en Espaiiol's level of success in future research studies.
Valenzuela's study of organizational environments theory to identify the factors
that led to Spanish International Network's success in the 1980s, comes closest to
examining the operation of a 24-hour cable news network. However, unlike CNN en
Espafiol, SIN's programming was entertainment-based. Because Valenzuela used
organizational environments theory, he examined SIN from a point where the network
was already established. His study does not examine the steps that were necessary to
create Spanish International Network. Valenzuela also notes that his study "is not
concerned with the day to day managerial operations of the organization" (1984, 14).
Because organizational environments theory can judge the success of an
organization by making comparisons to similar organizations, the theory could be used to
assess CNN en Espafol's survival against other cable news networks in Latin America.
Noting that organization environments theory also allows for the analysis of an
institution's interaction within the societies in which the organization operates, the effects
of CNN en Espafiol's presence in Latin America can also be studied. A third factor
which can be examined using the organizational environments theory is how CNN en
Espafiol withdraws from parts of its initial business strategy as the network grows and
takes on new business strategies. The theory would allow for the examination of how the
network redirects parts of its business strategy that it no longer utilizes and how the
network redirects competencies associated with those former business practices.
However, because CNN en Espafiol is still a young organization, this thesis examines its
creation and operation. Both are areas which have yet to be examined.
There is also a body of research on CNN en Espafol's sister network, CNN. It is
important to examine CNN as it is the largest part of the CNN News Group, and it is a
large part of CNN en Espafiol's infrastructure.
CNN is the originator of the 24-hour television news format (Whittemore, 1990).
Its target audience is television viewers in the United States (CNN News Group, 1999).
The network offers a wide range of programming that encompasses business,
entertainment, health, science news, sports, topical in-depth interviews and weather. The
network's most notable trait is its coverage and analysis of live breaking worldwide news
events (CNN News Group, 1999).
Noting that CNN targets U.S. audiences, it is important to note that other parts of
the CNN News Group target the rest of the world. CNN International is CNN's 24-hour
global news network (CNN News Group, 1999). CNNI is seen in over 138 million
households in over 210 countries and territories throughout the world (CNN News Group,
1999). The CNNI signal covers Latin America, and until CNN en Espaiol's launch, it
was the only CNN television news service available in that region. Currently, both CNN
en Espafiol and CNNI are available in Latin America. The difference is that CNNI is an
English-language service while CNN en Espafiol is a Spanish-language service.
There are a variety of textbooks, trade journal and popular literature articles
available about CNN and the various stages of its development. In 1983, the Washington
D.C.- based not-for-profit organization The Media Institute prepared a content analysis
entitled CNN vs. The Networks: Is More News Better News? The content analysis
compared CNN's news programming with that of the three major broadcast networks,
ABC, CBS, and NBC, but did not examine the startup and operation of CNN. Also, it
should be noted that this content analysis was conducted over 15 years ago, and the
practices, programming and editorial policies of each network studied have undergone
changes over that time period.
To explore the startup and operation of CNN, Hank Whittemore's CNN The
Inside Story (1990) provides a first-hand look at how and why CNN was created. The
book takes the story directly from the individuals involved in the creation and initial
operation of the network. The book opens with a quotation of the telephone
conversation that started CNN and continues with direct quotes from those involved
providing an incredibly detailed account of the CNN story (Whittemore, 1990). The book
is an excellent source for understanding the processes which helped put CNN on the air.
It explains how people were chosen to help start the network, and it explains the role of
each person. The book gives verbal accounts of how individuals worked together,
although not always agreeing, to make CNN a reality. Whittemore also provides details
about innovations that were created at CNN. One such innovation was the idea of the
"live" newsroom showing the buzz of newsroom activity behind the anchor desk while an
anchor is on the air. Before CNN, news programs were broadcast from a studio set that
had no activity behind the anchor desk. Whittemore also give details about the
development of CNN's computer system BASYS and about technical equipment that was
chosen to start the network. Perhaps the most interesting parts of the book are when
Whittemore provides accounts of CNN's control room as the network broke out of a
commercial break to broadcast its first live breaking news event.
This thesis is similar to Whittemore's book. However, there are numerous
differences in examining the startup of CNN and CNN en Espafiol. Because CNN en
Espaiiol is part of the CNN News Group, this study examines how CNN en Espafiol was
created and how it operates within the realm of CNN. Although Whittemore's book
details the startup of the CNN network, this study examines the startup of CNN's first
news venture in a language other than English. It must also be taken into account that
Whittemore examines how CNN pioneered the 24-hour cable news format. This thesis
examines how that format is adapted to a Spanish-speaking audience almost two decades
after CNN revolutionized cable television news.
Don Floumoy's CNN World Report: Ted Turner's International News Coup
(1992) provides an in-depth examination of one particular CNN program, "World
Report." However, the book is not limited in its presentation. Flournoy also gives a
detailed explanation of CNN's growth into a respectable news organization. The book
provides specific examples of news stories broadcast by CNN from and about countries
where media reports are controlled by the government. Flournoy details the origins of the
"World Report" program and the changes it has undergone since its initial broadcast.
"World Report" is a program which consists of news stories submitted from
television organizations around the world. The news stories are sent to CNN's Atlanta
headquarters where they are organized to form the "World Report" program. This is a
program that CNN founder Ted Turner said was not created to make money. It was
created with the purpose of giving people around the world a chance to be heard
(Flournoy, 2). Flournoy explains how contributing nations perceive the program and
CNN as a whole. He details how stories are chosen for the program and also gives
examples of topics and countries which have submitted material.
Flournoy also notes that CNN does not control the editorial content of the "World
Report" stories. Any nation is allowed to submit material and thus, "World Report" has
been accused of being a "propaganda mill" for the world (Flournoy, 93). However,
Flournoy reminds us that the program does not discriminate against a country or a
government. It is simply a program which gives everyone a chance to be heard. It is
important to mention Flournoy's book because it discusses a program that also airs on
CNN en Espafiol. The Spanish title of the program is "El Mundo Informa," which
literally translates into "World Report."
Another book written about CNN and its development as a news organization is
How CNN Fought the War: A View from the Inside by Major General Perry M. Smith
(Retired) (1991). This book examines CNN's coming of age during the Persian Gulf
War. It explores the behind-the-scenes action in the days before the Persian Gulf War,
and it chronicles CNN's operation during the war. Smith provides first-hand accounts of
how CNN utilized military analysts to help give the network an advantage on the
understanding of the subject matter. The book focuses on explaining how CNN operated
editorially during the Gulf War period and how its presence in Iraq turned it into the
world's most respected news organization.
There are other books and studies available examining CNN. Books about the
network include Robert Wiener's Live From Baghdad: Gathering News at Ground Zero
(1992), Don Flournoy's CNN: Making News in a Global Market (1997) and Porter
Bibb's It Ain't as Easy as It Looks: The Story of Ted Turner and CNN (1993).
Other academic research on CNN includes Chun Park's 1994 dissertation entitled
A Comparative Analysis of the Selection Process and Content of Television International
News in the United States and Korea. This study examines factors influencing
international news selection in the U.S. and Korea. Park examined the editorial
procedures and control mechanisms of CNN in an effort to compare them to two Korean
broadcasters. Park conducted a content analysis of CNN's news and the newscasts of
Korea's Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) and the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS),
and found that CNN is a more globally oriented news network than the Korean networks.
Park also found that CNN is operated on a market driven business model unlike the
Korean broadcasters, which focus on maintaining good government relations.
Sherrie Ann Madia's dissertation The Global News Race: The Branding of CNN
(1998) studies two global news leaders, CNN and the British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC). The study provides a content analysis of programming, including CNN's "World
Report." Madia examines categories including audio and visual elements, country and
region of news representation, use of graphics or other production elements, narrator
types, gender of narrators and prevalence of the CNN brand.
While there is an abundance of research about Spanish-language television, news
networks and cable news networks, much of this research overlaps in subject matter.
Existing research on cable networks is very similar to the research which exists about
traditional over-the-air broadcasting and television programming. Much of this research
focuses on programming audience measurement and audience effects. To date, there is
no in-depth examination of CNN en Espafiol. This thesis will fill that void by using a
case study approach, thus allowing for a first-hand examination of the startup and
operation of a 24-hour Spanish-language cable news network.
The next chapter contains the methodology of this study. It explains the case
study method and focused interview, which is part of the case study approach. The
chapter also details the types of data collected and how those data were collected.
The design of the study is based on a qualitative case study approach, whereby the
researcher, through participant-observation, gathers data about the operation of CNN en
Espafol. Then, with interviews from key individuals within the network, further data on
the creation of CNN en Espafol will be attained. The present chapter details the types of
data collected, how that data were collected and how the analysis was completed.
The Benefits of Qualitative Research
The review of literature revealed that research has been largely based on
conventional quantitative methods, such as surveys and content analysis. With these
quantitative approaches, the findings have been limited to who watches what television
programming, when those viewers are watching such programming, and what effects the
programming may have on the viewer. Since the aim of this thesis is not to determine
viewing habits or other quantitative attributes, a qualitative approach is most appropriate.
Presently, the strengths of qualitative analysis seem to be the benefits it provides
in the planning process. For example, through measures such as focus groups, an
advertiser can determine what may be effective before committing to a costly national
campaign. Qualitative research examines attributes, characteristics and properties in
communication (Fitch, 1994, 32). The emphasis is on pure description rather than
prediction and measurement. The ability to change hypotheses and research questions
after initial observations and the aspiration to understand what an experience is like leads
to an understanding known as "Verstehen" (Lindlof, 1995, 30). The use of a constant
comparative method or a phenomenological approach are strengths of the qualitative
approach in telecommunication.
Since the qualitative framework seeks to find out how and why things are done,
this approach will be used to examine how CNN en Espafiol was created and how it
This project uses a case study approach as a primary data gathering technique.
The case study method allows research to be descriptive and exploratory. According to
The case study allows an investigation to retain the holistic and
meaningful characteristics of real-life events-such as individual life
cycles, organizational and managerial processes, neighborhood change,
international relations, and the maturation of industries. (1994, 3)
This case study examines CNN en Espafiol and explores the various stages that
led to the creation of the cable news network. By gathering data directly from the
individuals involved in the network's creation process, coupled with the researcher's
participant-observation, this study investigates how and why things were done from the
inception of the network to its launching.
Yin writes that evidence for a case study may come from six sources: documents,
archival records, interviews, direct observation, participant-observation and physical
artifacts (1994, 80). All six types of evidence produced data for this study. However,-
two particular types, participant-observation and interviews, largely comprise the data.
Participant-observation is one of the primary techniques used in this study because
it is a special mode of observation, which allows the researcher to assume diverse roles
within a case study. It also allows for the researcher to participate in the events being
studied (Yin, 87). In this study, the researcher assumes the role of a newscast director or
"line director" within the CNN en Espafiol network. Agar states:
First of all, participant observation means you are actually there, that you
enter the world of the people you're working with rather than bringing
them into your world. In this sense, participant observation is a diagnostic
feature of ethnography. (Agar, 1999, 9)
The researcher began to work at CNN en Espafiol three months before the
network's March 1997 launch. As a newscast director, the researcher was able to observe
and participate in the daily operation of the CNN en Espafol. This allowed the researcher
to understand how and why things are done. Agar states that participant observation
allows the researcher to be directly involved in the community. The researcher can
observe and talk with people while learning from them their views of reality (1996, 163).
Spradley notes that the participant observer appears to be an ordinary participant in an
environment (Spradley, 1980, 54). However, the participant observer approaches a social
situation with two goals: to participate in the activities appropriate to the situation and to
observe the "activities, people, and physical artifacts of the situation" (Spradley, 1980,
The participant observer seeks to become categorically aware of activities that
would ordinarily be blocked out by ordinary participants. Spradley notes that as a
1 The newscast director is responsible for directing a live or taped television program.
researcher, increasing awareness is not an easy task. The researcher must overcome an
inclination towards "selective inattention," or the tuning out of activities in a situation
(Spradley, 1980, 55). A participant observer must have a heightened sense of awareness.
A researcher must accept a broader range of information, as if approaching the social
environment with a "wide-angle lens" (Spradley, 1980, 56).
The participant observer also experiences being an "insider" and "outsider" in a
social situation (Spradley, 1980, 56). As an ordinary participant in a social environment,
one's experiences would be subjective. However, a participant observer simultaneously
views a situation subjectively and from an outside view (Spradley, 1980, 57). This is
necessary to gain an understanding of how participants act in situations while
understanding how those actions affect the social environment (Spradley, 1980, 57)
In participant observation, the researcher must also learn to use himself as a
research instrument (Spradley, 1980, 57). This introspection of daily activities differs
greatly from ordinary participants which overlook many experiences (Spradley, 1980, 57).
A participant observer's ability to thoroughly reflect on the activities within a social
environment will greatly refine the data gathered (Spradley, 1980, 58).
Description of the Interviews
Interviews were used to gather data that was not directly available to the
researcher via participant observation. According to Yin,
Overall, interviews are an essential source of case study evidence because
most case studies are about human affairs. These human affairs should be
reported and interpreted through the eyes of specific interviewees, and
well informed respondents can provide important insights into a situation.
They can also provide shortcuts to the prior history of the situation,
helping you to identify other relevant sources of evidence. (Yin, 85)
The interview creates an "opportunity to step into the mind of another person, to
see and experience the world as they do themselves" (McCracken, 9). This type of first
hand account will be crucial to the understanding of how and why CNN en Espafiol was
Lindlof (1995) states that as a researcher, one can never be sure that what a
respondent says represents the full story. For this reason, the researcher conducted seven
personal interviews of individuals associated with CNN en Espafiol. The interviews were
used to gather information about the startup of CNN en Espafiol and to further expand on
the limited information available about the network. All of the interviews were taped on
two simultaneously running recorders. Each interview was conducted in the office or
home of the interviewee. Those interviewed for this study were
Christopher Crommett, Vice President and News Director, CNN en Espafiol
Bob Hesskamp, Vice President of Operations, CNN International
Donna Mastrangelo, Senior Executive Producer, CNN en Espafiol
Debra Morton, Former Manager of Network and New Business Operations, CNN en
Caroline Rittenberry, Manager of Public Relations, TBS Latin America
Rolando Santos, President, CNN en Espafiol
Madeleine Wiener, Former Vice President of News Marketing, TBS Latin America
These interviewees comprise a variety of positions within the network including
management, public relations, marketing, and editorial and production staff. The goal of
these interviews is to establish an understanding of not only why things were done, but
how they were done at all levels in the development of CNN en Espafol. Each of these
individuals had a specific role in the creation of the network. The following chapter will
explain the role of each interviewee throughout the development of CNN en Espafiol.
The interview type used was the "focused interview" as defined by Merton, Fiskc
& Kendall (1990). In this interview type, the respondent is interviewed for a short time
period; in this case the average time was one hour. The focused interview may remain
open-ended and can even assume a conversational manner (Yin, 85).
A tool used in the formulation of the interview questionnaire was Wes Marshall's
book Minority Television Programming: Fiesta. The text dealt with the development of
a minority program entitled "Fiesta." Although it was written in 1974, "Fiesta" provided
invaluable insight into what was necessary to develop a television program for Hispanics.
"Fiesta" was used as a source for developing the questionnaire as many of the issues
relating to the development of the program "Fiesta" could be applied to the development
of CNN en Espafol. Among the issues discussed in "Fiesta" were the audience, the long-
term results of the programming, staffing and future goals (Marshall, 1).
The questionnaire formulated and used in the interviews appears in Appendix A.
McCracken states the following benefits of using a questionnaire:
The questionnaire allows for care in the scheduling of the prompts necessary to
manufacture distance between the respondent and researcher
The questionnaire establishes channels for the direction and scope of responses
The questionnaire allows the investigator to give all of their attention to the
respondent's testament. (1988, 24-25)
The questionnaire was designed so that questions could easily be adjusted to
accommodate each respondent's area of expertise. The questions were general in nature.
However, it was not feasible to ask each respondent every question as each person
interviewed had a different area of expertise and there were time limitations on the length
of the interviews. This is important to note because each interviewee granted interview
time as part of his or her daily schedule. For these reasons, questions that did not fall into
a particular respondent's area of knowledge were omitted from the interview.
Sometimes, questions were asked and respondents did not provide answers due to their
lack of expertise about a particular subject matter. In addition, due to the nature of the
interview, the respondents sometimes answered future questions within their responses
to other questions. For this reason, it was not practicable to ask each respondent the same
questions in the same order. However, every effort was made to ask each individual
question in the same manner. Another outcome of the interviews was the development of
more questions. As the first interviews were conducted, the respondents sometimes
provided information that required further investigation. This information was
formulated into questions and these questions were added to the questionnaire. The new
questions were asked to the remaining interview subjects who had expertise in those
Other Data Used in the Study
Lindlof (1995) states that interviews allow researchers to "verify, validate, or
comment on data from other sources." For the study, numerous other data sources were
used to develop an accurate history and understanding ofCNN en Espafiol and the Latin
American market. The questionnaire and analysis were developed by examining
numerous trade journals and publications such as Advertising Age, Broadcasting and
Cable, Broadcast Engineering, Cable Business International, Cablefax, Cable and
Satellite Express, Communication International, Daily Variety, Electronic Media, The
Hollywood Reporter, Market Latin America, Media Daily, Mediaweek, Multichannel
News, Network World, PR Newswire, Public Relations Quarterly, Satellite Week and
Television Business International.
Newspaper sources were also used. They included both local and major national
U.S. newspapers, along with Latin American papers. Among the domestic newspapers
were The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Austin-American Statesman, The Boston
Globe, The Chicago Sun Times, The Hartford Courant, The Los Angeles Times. The
New York Times, The Tampa Tribune, The Sun Sentinel, USA Today and The
Popular literature, domestic and international wire services were also used. These
sources were valuable in gathering information about events that took place throughout
CNN en Espafiol's development. The articles were examined for information about
Spanish-language television and for specific information about CNN en Espafol and
Turner Broadcasting System. The literature examined includes Business Journal,
Business Horizons, The Economist. Maclean's, Reuters Financial Service, South Florida
Business Journal, TASS, Time, Time Latin America, and U.S. News and World Report.
Latin American newspapers, journals and news services included Cronica
(Mexico), Diaro el Clarin (Argentina), El Excelsior (Mexico), La Jornada (Mexico), El
Nacional (Venezuela), Semana (Colombia), Servicio Universal de Noticias (Universal
News Service), El Tiempo (Colombia), and Vision (Argentina). It was important to look
at these sources as they emanate from the region serviced by CNN en Espafiol. The
articles attained from these sources were translated to English by the researcher for their
use in this study. Using information directly from Latin America allowed for the
development of a coherent and detailed description of how CNN en Espaihol was
developed from the recipients' perspective.
Other information about CNN en Espaiol was obtained from management's
interdepartmental memoranda, while still other documents were provided by those
interviewed in the study. Press releases supplied by CNN en Espaniol's public relations
department were also used as sources. The Internet proved a valuable secondary source
to obtain information about the components of the CNN News Group and to find other
information and articles that were not readily available. On-line services such as Lexis-
Nexis and First Search were also used to find information about Spanish-language
television and CNN.
The aforementioned data were collected before the questionnaire was designed
and before the interviews were conducted. However, every attempt was made to
continually update the information as the study progressed.
The next chapter contains a summary of the interviews. The chapter begins with
an explanation of why the interviews were conducted and then defines the standard ethics
protocol that was used in this study. The chapter then examines the importance of
transcription quality and how this affects data collection and analysis.
DISCUSSION OF THE INTERVIEWS
This chapter examines the seven interviews used in this study and discusses the
data that the interviews yielded. The individuals interviewed are
Christopher Crommett, Vice President and News Director, CNN en Espafiol
Bob Hesskamp, Vice President of Operations, CNN International
Donna Mastrangelo, Senior Executive Producer, CNN en Espafiol
Debra Morton, Former Manager of Network and New Business Operations, CNN en
Caroline Rittenberry, Manager of Public Relations, TBS Latin America
Rolando Santos, President, CNN en Espaiol
Madeleine Wiener, Former Vice President of News Marketing, TBS Latin America
These individuals had a specific role in the startup of CNN en Espafol, and many
continue to have roles in the current operation of the network.
Prior to each interview, the respondents were asked to sign a standard ethics
protocol. The form used was adapted from McCracken's The Lone Interview (1988).
This document informed the respondents of their rights as subjects in the study and of
how their responses would be used in this study. The standard ethics protocol, approved
by the University of Florida Institutional Review Board, appears in Appendix B.
The Importance of Transcription Quality
Poland (1995) states that even when those transcribing attempt to produce
verbatim accounts of an interview, there are four discrepancies which may occur. These
discrepancies are problems with sentence structure, misuse of quotation marks, omissions
of words or phrases, and mistaking words or phrases for others (297).
To ensure the integrity of the research, two audio recordings were made of each
interview. Each recording was produced on a different tape format. During transcription,
if there was any dispute about a word or phrase, the second recording was used to
determine the proper transcription. Also, while conducting the interviews, the researcher
made an effort to note on the questionnaire any particular words that might be
misunderstood in the transcription process. After the transcripts were completed, as a
final method of quality control, the researcher again listened to the interviews while
reading the transcripts. This method proved worthwhile as some omissions and mistaken
words were discovered. These errors were corrected as they were discovered for each
Data Yielded Through the Interviews
The interviews provided data which helped define and explain various stages of
CNN en Espafiol's planning and development. These data can be separated into the
following categories: research, public relations and marketing, definition of an audience,
editorial content, and operation of the network.
Through the course of the interviews, many terms and words related specifically
to television and more specifically to CNN en Espafiol were used by the respondents.
These words and terms appear in Appendix C.
"This Is CNN"
"Somos CNN en Espafiol" is CNN en Espafiol's on-air identification slogan. It
literally means, "This is CNN." The goal of CNN en Espafiol's creators was to produce a
network that was CNN, but with a Latin American perspective. This would involve years
of planning. Rolando Santos, President of CNN en Espafiol states:
There were probably close to a dozen business plans that were put together
before we finally found the right combination of technology and business,
and the market grew to where we could do this. One of the key reasons we
waited so long to get in the marketplace was the marketplace, cable wise,
had not matured enough for us to be able to launch. A certain number of
cable operators had to exist before you could make it a business. Then you
had to find the right amounts of technology. Our network for example is
probably the most efficient network at CNN in terms of the number of
people working versus the amount of material put out, and that's no
accident. It happened that way because we designed it that way or it
wouldn't have happened. Not that we set out to be the most efficient.
You only have so much money available in the pot, so the people had to be
able do certain things to be able to get a 24-hour network with the
credibility of CNN. In other words, it wasn't just a matter of throwing on
a network. I had to create a network that had lived up to all of the
standards and expectations of a CNN network. And, you had to do it with
a certain amount of money, which was far less than what's available in the
general market. So we had to wait for the market to grow. We had to wait
for the technology to develop to the point where we could use less people
but with the same amount of output, or greater output. Then, all of those
forces had to come together literally and coalesce in order for us to launch
CNN en Espaftol. (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999)
Before embarking on the CNN en Espahol, Turner Broadcasting System
conducted research to determine the viability of a 24-hour Spanish-language news
network. CNN en Espafiol Vice President Christopher Crommett states:
Quite honestly, there was not question that from an editorial standpoint it
made sense to have a network in Spanish. We're talking about an
enormous region, an enormously diverse region with a long history of
censorship and control of information that was hungry for a source that it
could rely on that would not be subject to local, political and increasingly
what we see these days, financial pressure...Editorially, there was no
question that it was justified. Strategically, given the projections for
economic growth in Latin America, it made a lot of sense. What had to
make sense was a business plan. The folks that crunch the numbers did
their research as to what they thought the potential distribution would be,
what they thought the potential advertising revenue would be, and finally
said, "Yes, we think this can be a profitable business within X period of
time." And that was an acceptable wait time. (C. Crommett, personal
communication, October 6, 1999)
Marketing Vice President Madeleine Wiener adds that she feels the network
would have launched with or without research because it was seen as a business
opportunity, and the decision to launch was largely based on TBS Latin America's
experience in the region. She notes:
Like a lot of things that Turner has done, I think there was a gut feel.
There was a gut feel and there was also the experience of executives that
have worked a long time in Latin America that have talked to cable
operators and talked to people--There was really a need for launching
CNN en Espafiol. (M. Wiener, personal communication, October 9, 1999)
Once CNN en Espafiol was approved for launch, the building of the network
could begin. The building process would require the development of CNN en Espafiol's
public relations and marketing, audience definition, editorial content, and daily
Public Relations and Marketing for CNN en Espafiol
The promotion of a Latin American version of CNN was carried out by the public
relations and marketing departments of TBS Latin America, which are responsible for
promoting and establishing CNN en Espafiol's market presence in Latin America (M.
Wiener, personal communication, October 9, 1999). The public relations department
pushed the slogan "El lider mundial en noticias" ("The World's News Leader") when
selling CNN en Espafiol. However, the most important aspect in the success of the
network was the CNN name. Caroline Rittenberry, Public Relations Manager for TBS
Latin America, notes that the CNN brand was essential to the network's success (C.
Rittenberry, personal communication, October 9, 1999). Madeline Wiener, former Vice
President of News Marketing for TBS Latin America, adds that the network was sold as
CNN. It was not sold as a network that was like CNN, but as a network that was CNN, in
Spanish, with a Latin American perspective (M. Wiener, personal communication,
October 9, 1999).
Because the CNN name is one of the most recognized brand names in the world,l
the public relations and marketing departments were able to start selling the network two
years before the network's launch (C. Rittenberry, personal communication, October 9,
1999). Public Relations Manager Rittenberry (personal communication, October 9, 1999)
notes that the biggest problem was deciding when the network would actually launch
because the existence of the network had been announced so far in advance. Cable
operators and consumers knew that CNN would deliver CNN en Espafiol, but when it
would be delivered could not be answered until a final business plan was approved.
Because no launch date had been officially set in the early stages, the public relations and
marketing departments could not promote the exact arrival time of the network (C.
Rittenberry, personal communication, October 9, 1999).
In the time between the decision to create the network and the approval of the
final business plan, the marketing department conducted research in Latin America to see
I Rolando Santos, President of CNN en Espafiol, notes that the CNN name is as
recognized worldwide as the Coca-Cola brand name.
what type of interest there was in the network (M. Wiener, personal communication,
October 9, 1999). They also conducted research to determine what people were watching
in various time periods and to determine other details, such as what was considered prime
time in different countries (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999).
However, many decisions about the marketing of the network did not rely on
research. Rittenberry (personal communication, October 9, 1999) notes that there is not a
lot of reliable audience research in Latin America, so many decisions were based on
experience. Former Marketing Vice President Madeleine Wiener adds that there are
financial limits when dealing with research (M. Wiener, personal communication,
October 9, 1999). There is only so much research that can be performed due to budget
limitations. She adds that when launching a network, the first priority is to let viewers
and potential subscribers know that the network exists. Then, once the network is
established, more money can be invested into research which focuses on programming
and viewing habits (M. Wiener, personal communication, October 9, 1999).
Prior to launch, the marketing department placed advertisements in trade journals
and cross-promoted CNN en Espafiol on the other Turner networks that were present in
Latin America (C. Rittenberry, personal communication, October 9, 1999).2 Meanwhile,
the public relations (PR) department took CNN en Espafiol's primary anchors, Jorge
Gestoso and Patricia Janiot, to trade shows to sell the new network.3 The PR department
2 These networks include CNN International, TNT (Latin America) and TBS (Latin
' Jorge Gestoso and Patricia Janiot anchored CNN's Spanish-language newscasts which
had previously aired on CNN International.
also invited reporters from Latin America to Atlanta to see CNN and what would
eventually be CNN en Espafiol. The goal of the public relations department was to make
the public and cable operators aware of CNN en Espafiol's pending arrival (C.
Rittenberry, personal communication, October 9, 1999).
The initial promotion of CNN en Espafol after launch was aimed at letting
viewers know that CNN had arrived in their language (C. Rittenberry, personal
communication, October 9, 1999). Public Relations Manager Rittenberry explains that
promotion cannot focus on network's programming until people know that the network
exists. Now that CNN en Espafol has been broadcasting for more than two years,
Rittenberry states that the promotion of the network has moved toward specific program
promotion and to proof of performance promotions (C. Rittenberry, personal
communication, October 9, 1999).4 Donna Mastrangelo, Senior Executive Producer of
CNN en Espaiol, adds that because the network is young, there is still no clear answer as
to what type of promotion is most effective. However, she says that because the initial
phases of network promotion were aimed at establishing the presence of the network and
the CNN brand, the next phase is the promotion of specific programs and of CNN en
Espafiol's on-air talent (D. Mastrangelo, personal communication, October 7, 1999).
Defining CNN en Espafol's Audience
CNN en Espahol was designed so that it would provide up to date, relevant news
and information programming for Latin America (C. Crommett, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). The key issue was relevance.
4 Proof of Performance (P.O.P) is a promotion which highlights a network's coverage of
a single story or group of stories.
Due to Latin America's diversity, defining an audience for CNN en Espafiol was a
challenge. What might be of interest to someone in Mexico might not be interesting to
someone in Argentina (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). The
network could not rely on research to determine what Latin Americans wanted in
programming because the research conducted in the region to determine this type of data
was not reliable (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). CNN en
Espaiol had to rely on instinct and prior experience (M. Wiener, personal
communication, October 9, 1999). The network also relied on the knowledge of the staff,
most of which came from Latin America.
A primary factor in defining CNN en Espafiol's audience was that programming
had to initially be aimed at those who could afford cable television or direct satellite
service (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). In the early stages of
the network, these individuals would be the only ones receiving CNN en Espafol on a 24-
hour a day basis. At the onset, this group consisted of middle to upper class individuals
(C. Rittenberry, personal communication, October 9, 1999). The audience consisted of
decision makers, such as politicians and business owners, who were educated, savvy,
interested in technology and traveled frequently (C. Crommett, personal communication,
October 6, 1999). A majority of this group was bilingual and was already watching CNN
International. This largely drove the design of CNN en Espafiol's program schedule (C.
Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999).5
5 The program schedule (grid) is the 24-hour daily program schedule of a network. The
grid indicates what programming is scheduled to air for each hour of every day.
However, CNN en Espaiol's creators did not limit the reach of the network to just
cable subscribers. CNN en Espafiol maintains broadcast affiliates throughout Latin
America (D. Mastrangelo, personal communication, October 7, 1999). By affiliating with
stations throughout the region, CNN en Espafol could reach a larger audience. Vice
President Christopher Crommett states:
We do get access to all audiences, by any category that you might want to
define, through our broadcast affiliates. We have at least one broadcast
affiliate in every Latin American country. So, we're able to reach
segments of the population that might not be able to afford cable or direct
satellite and can still see our programming in some form or fashion. (C.
Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999)
CNN en Espafiol's affiliates vary throughout Latin America, but consist of local
broadcasters located in various parts of each Latin American country (R. Santos, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). Many of these local affiliates have rights to directly
carry CNN en Espafiol's breaking news coverage (C. Crommett, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). Other affiliates have rights to broadcast CNN en
Espaiol's newscasts as their nightly national newscasts (R. Santos, personal
communication, October 6, 1999).
Crommett adds that CNN en Espafiol has reciprocity agreements with its Latin
American affiliates (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). These
agreements also allow CNN en Espafiol's affiliates to use CNN en Espaiol material while
CNN en Espafol is allowed to use material from its local affiliates (C. Crommett,
personal communication, October 6, 1999). Senior Executive Producer Donna
Mastrangelo notes that the affiliate-client relationship is key because it allows CNN en
Espahol to have extensive local coverage of stories throughout Latin America (D.
Mastrangelo, personal communication, October 7, 1999).
Editorial Content of CNN en Espafiol
Network President Rolando Santos states, "News, is news, is news." The
information that is presented does not change. What is important to the success of a
network is how that information is presented to its audience (R. Santos, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). Santos adds that it is very difficult for the audience to
identify with the news if it is not given examples with which it can identify. According to
CNN en Espafol Vice President Christopher Crommett, that is the goal of CNN en
Espafiol--to provide news and information that is relevant, while being the sole
international news and information source for Latin America (C. Crommett, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). Crommett adds that CNN en Espafiol is a supplement
to the local news offerings of the region. It is a network that is designed to satisfy the
information and news needs of Latin Americans (C. Crommett, personal communication,
October 6, 1999).
Santos gives an example of how a news story can be made relevant to Latin
If we do a cancer story, yes, we may take CNN material that talks about a
cancer story, but we're going to turn around and we're going to find out
how many Latin Americans are affected by this, not just how many people,
because there may be a difference. (R. Santos, personal communication,
October 6, 1999)
The issue of making programming relevant to Latin America affected decisions
about programming and how that programming would be presented on the network (C.
Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). Making CNN en Espafiol's
offerings pertinent to Latin Americans proved to be a challenge. The first factor was
defining CNN en Espafiol's audience, and how to create programming for that audience
(C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). CNN en Espafiol's Vice
President, Christopher Crommett, states that defining an audience for a region as large as
Latin America is always a challenge. That challenge lies in the fact that the region
consists of over 20 distinct countries, many of which have different cultures and dialects
of the Spanish language (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999).
Network President Rolando Santos gives an example of how a simple word can have
different meanings throughout the Latin American region. Santos states:
For me, in my part of Mexico, an "apartamento" with an "A" is an
apartment that you live in and a "departamento" with a "D" is a
department in a store, or a department in a business. In the Southern
Cone,6 a "departamento" with a "D" is a place where you live. An
"apartamento" with an "A" does not exist. (R. Santos, personal
communication, October 6, 1999)
This example is typical of the daily challenges that CNN en Espafiol faces. For
this reason, it was important that the network hire a representative mix of people (R.
Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). By staffing the network with
individuals from throughout Spain and Latin America, the network would be able to
produce programming that would, on some level, appeal to viewers in every Latin
American country (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). Santos
adds that the hiring process was not aimed at having set numbers of individuals from each
6 The Southern Cone is a region of South America which includes: Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
country within Latin America. Rather, the goal was to have representation of employees
from the entire region (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999).
In presenting news programming, CNN en Espafol Vice President and News
Director, Christopher Crommett, states that it is also important that the network avoid
covering stories that skew in any one direction (C. Crommett, personal communication,
October 6, 1999). Crommett adds that CNN en Espafiol does not want to favor any
particular country with the stories that it covers. He adds that the easy days, in terms of
editorial judgment, are those in which there is a "huge, obligatory" story that has to be
reported. For this reason, the network makes an effort to report stories that are of interest
to viewers throughout the region. Crommett notes that stories dealing with subjects that
affect every nation in Latin America is important because viewers throughout the region
can relate to similar subjects (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999).
Crommett also adds that CNN en Espaiol keeps its audience interested by focusing on
different subjects throughout the day (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6,
1999). This is evidenced by the program schedule that consists primarily of news, but
includes business, sports, entertainment, and feature programming.7 He states:
I think we've done a credible job of programming for over 20 countries
without alienating anybody, at least not too much. Sure, there's a role for
niche networks and in a sense, we've tried to be all things to all people,
and I think we've achieved it to some extent. If you look at the component
networks of the CNN News Group, and you look at our program grid
you'll see that to some extent we're trying to be all of those components.
For a half-hour at a time in prime time and in the early morning, we
become CNNfn with a clearly Latin American flavor and focus. For
certain parts of the day, we become CNN/SI. We become a sports news
7 The feature programs cover subjects such as the environment, fashion, medicine,
technology and travel.
network for a full half-hour. We become an entertainment network, we
become CNN "Showbiz" if you will,8 again with a Latin American focus
and flavor for half an hour, and it's a program that's played several times
throughout the 24-hour cycle. If you look at our feature and information
programming, they reflect the feature units and some of the weekly
programs that are done on CNN and CNNI. So, we've tried to hit a
balance there where we can be all things to all people. Clearly, there are
programs that are not of interest, and we just hope that people tune it at
another time when there's something on that's of interest to them. (C.
Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999)
Senior Executive Producer, Donna Mastrangelo, adds that the network operates
under the philosophy that if it produces good programming, people will watch (D.
Mastrangelo, personal communication, October 7, 1999). Mastrangelo also notes that if
CNN en Espafiol covers issues that people care about, then viewers will be attracted and
will tune in to the network (D. Mastrangelo, personal communication, October 7, 1999).
Latin America has mature cable markets in Argentina and Mexico, while the cable
markets in Brazil and Chile, both Southern Cone countries, continue to grow (Arenas,
1997). However, it is important to note that CNN en Espaiol focuses particular attention
on information that is of relevance to Argentina and the Southern Cone region.
Because CNN en Espafiol is foremost a business, the concentration of subscribers
in the Southern Cone somewhat dictates how the network programs (C. Rittenberry,
personal communication, October 9, 1999). Public Relations Manager, Caroline
Rittenberry, affirms that CNN en Espafol tends to focus on the Southern Cone because
half of the network's subscribers are in Argentina (C. Rittenberry, personal
communication, October 9, 1999). Former Vice President of News Marketing for TBS
Latin America, Madeline Wiener, notes that this is a factor in CNN en Espafol's
8 "Showbiz Today" is CNN's entertainment information program.
programming, but there is not an obvious bias because the network focuses on covering
the most important stories and events that are happening in the world (M. Wiener,
personal communication, October 9, 1999). She adds that the goal of the network is not
to cover a story that occurs in every Latin American country. Rather, the goal is to cover
events that are of interest to everyone, whether those events occur in Latin America or in
some other region (M. Wiener, personal communication, October 9, 1999).
Operation of CNN en Espafiol
In launching as a 24-hour news network, CNN en Espafiol had several advantages
over other Spanish-language news networks. The biggest advantage was that CNN en
Espahol is operated under CNN, an organization whose primary focus is being a 24-hour
news business (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). Secondly,
CNN en Espaftol is based in the United States. Unlike many news services from Latin
America, CNN en Espafiol does not have the stigma of being controlled by a government
(R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). The network also did not have to
worry about how its news programming would affect its other programming. Network
Vice President, Christopher Crommett, says that with other 24-hour Spanish-language
networks, such as Univision, a primary issue is how news programming will affect the
network's other scheduled programming (C. Crommett, personal communication,
October 6, 1999). He adds that first and foremost, CNN en Espafiol focuses on coverage
of news and breaking news--in keeping with the tradition established by CNN (C.
Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). While all other programming on
the CNN en Espafol program schedule is important, the network is primarily a news
network (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999).
Because CNN en Espafiol is a CNN network, its programming has to be of the
same quality as CNN's (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). The
business plan used to launch CNN en Espaflol required more work to be done in less time
and by fewer individuals (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
Perhaps the most important difference between CNN en Espafiol's operation and CNN's
operation was in the area of financing. CNN has much larger budgets than CNN en
Espafiol, but both networks have quality and editorial standards to maintain (R. Santos,
personal communication, October 6, 1999). Due to its limited financial range, CNN en
Espafol could operate like no other CNN network-- It would have to be a unique
Comparing CNN en Espafol to CNN
The researcher observed that CNN produces news in a traditional manner that
includes heavy staffing whereby employees usually perform only one task as their
primary job duty. A very good example of the differences between CNN and CNN en
Espafiol exists when comparing the control room staff of both networks.
The researcher observed that in CNN's traditional model of live news production,
there are at least nine positions in a control room. These are: Audio Operator, Camera
Operator(s) Electronic Prompter Operator, Director, Graphics Operator, Technical
Director, Producer, Supervising Producer, Videotape Playback Operator, and there is
often a production assistant on-hand. Each person in the CNN control room performs one
specific task. CNN en Espafiol's control room consists of five people. These are the
Audio Operator, Director, Graphics Operator, Producer, and Supervising Producer. Vice
President of Operations for CNN International, Bob Hesskamp, adds that the positions at
CNN en Espafiol are not traditional television jobs. Each individual has to be able to
perform more than one duty (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
When planning CNN en Espafiol, the duties of each employee had to be carefully
detailed so that all of the necessary daily work could be completed (D. Morton, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). Debra Morton, former Manager of Network and
New Business Operations for CNN en Espafiol, says that as the network was being
developed, there were many instances where the creators did not know who would
complete specific tasks (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999). Morton
adds that as the workflow and program grid were developed, new problems were
discovered. This led to some changes in the network's original program schedule
because it would not be possible to produce all of the originally proposed programming
with the limited staff CNN en Espafiol was allotted under the business plan (D. Morton,
personal communication, October 11, 1999).
The researcher observed that the traditional CNN newsroom also differs from
CNN en Espahol in that CNN relies primarily on videotape for editing and video
playback. Bob Hesskamp, Vice President of Operations for CNN International, says that
to make CNN en Espafiol succeed with its small staff, things had to be done differently
(B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). One particular challenge
was quickening the video editing process because the business plan did not allow for
enough editors to do editing in the traditional way (B. Hesskamp, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). Traditional videotape editing would require two
videotape machines per video editor. The machines would have to be set up so that one
tape machine was a "source" machine and the second tape machine was a "record"
machine. If material that needed to be recorded was on several videotapes, a video editor
would have to have access to each individual videotape in order to edit a finished product
(D. Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999). This would be too time
consuming to produce material with CNN en Espafol's small staff (B. Hesskamp,
personal communication, October 11, 1999).
To operate under the tight business plan, CNN en Espafiol adopted state of the art
technology and focused on hiring individuals that were willing to learn a new way of
producing news (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). Vice
President of CNN International, Bob Hesskamp notes:
We knew that with the limited staff we had to do a couple of things. We
had to quicken the edit process because we didn't have enough editors to
do editing in the traditional way. We wanted to find a way to move video
around without requiring people to do it, to make it more efficient and
faster. (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999)
Senior Executive Producer, Donna Mastrangelo adds:
We really have put together the newsroom of the future and we will
continue to place different demands on people. We all have to have
multiple skills and a work ethic. By that I don't mean "Are you able to
work twelve hours?" But, "Is your work ethic devoted to what our ideals
are? And that is, getting it right. (D. Mastrangelo, personal
communication, October 7, 1999)
The technology and employee mix incorporated by CNN en Espahol would allow
each person to perform more than one job duty. It would also reduce the amount of time
necessary to complete projects, and it would allow CNN en Espafiol to continually
produce new material within its limited business plan (B. Hesskamp, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). Details of the technology and employee mix and
challenges faced by CNN en Espafiol appear in Chapter 5.
The Day the Network Came Together
After the launch of the CNN en Espafiol on March 17, 1997, the technology and
employee mix was still being adjusted in an effort to find out how things might be
improved and done more efficiently (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11,
1999). The technology was still relatively new to everyone, and the limitations of the
staff and new equipment had yet to be tested by a breaking news story (R. Santos,
personal communication, October 6, 1999).
Four months before CNN en Espahol became a 24-hour network, Tupac Amaru9
rebels had infiltrated the residence of the Japanese ambassador in Lima, Peru. The Tupac
Amaru rebels' goal was to take hostages to negotiate the release of fellow imprisoned
rebels (Schemo, 1997). This would prove to be the story that made CNN en Espafol an
internationally known news source (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6,
For several months, the rebels held hostages inside the Japanese embassy as the
world watched attempts to negotiate the release of the hostages. On April 22, 1997,
Peruvian soldiers stormed the ambassador's residence and safely rescued all but one of
the hostages while killing all 14 rebel soldiers (Schemo, 1997). CNN en Espafol
President, Rolando Santos recalls:
Since the night of the hostage rescue in Peru, that was our Gulf War. I
think the best quote I remember from a newspaper headline was "For three
months journalists from all over the world were here to talk about it, but
when the news really happened, it was CNN en Espafol that showed the
world how to do it." I'll never forget that quote because that's exactly
what it was. From that moment on, CNN en Espafiol had established
9 The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement is a guerrilla movement.
itself. In the newsroom, that was the night that the technology truly gelled.
That was the night that everyone clearly understood that this new
technology allowed us to do things we could never have done if we were
still stuck in videotape. In that moment it all came together for us. It
came together with the audience because we brought the world to them. It
came together inside CNN because for the first time, this network took the
lead in covering a breaking news story for our sister networks. We were
giving them the story as opposed to them taking care of us. Internally, for
the first time, we became a team. (R. Santos, personal communication,
October 6, 1999)
On that April afternoon, just thirty-six days after CNN en Espafiol had launched,
the network proved that it was "El lider mundial en noticias." CNN even simulcast parts
of CNN en Espafiol's continuous coverage of the hostage rescue (R. Santos, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). CNN en Espafiol had taken the lead on a major Latin
American story and in one swift movement had come together as a network and become
Latin America's news leader. This was only the beginning.
The interviews conducted in this study provide first-hand accounts of the creation
and operation of CNN en Espaiol. McCracken states: "Every social scientific study is
improved by a clearer understanding of the beliefs and experience of the actors in
question" (1988, 9). By combining these accounts about the creation and operation of
CNN en Espahol with participant observation, the researcher was afforded the
opportunity to fully understand the creation and operation of the network.
The next chapter explains the findings of the research and further details the
development of CNN en Espafiol. The chapter defines the factors leading to CNN en
Espafiol's launch and goes on to explain the daily operation and future of the network.
FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS OF THE RESEARCH
The findings and analysis of the data collected through the interviews and case
study are presented in this chapter. The chapter begins with an overview of the findings.
The chapter then explains the various stages of CNN en Espafiol's development. The
findings are explicated to portray a chronological representation that spans the initial
planning of CNN en Espafiol to its current operation.
Overview of the Findings
As noble as delivering news to the world is, and as great as it has been, we
have to make money while we're doing this. (Bob Hesskamp, Vice
President of Operations, CNN International)
There are two underlying factors in the creation of CNN en Espafiol (R. Santos,
personal communication, October 6, 1999). The first is that it is a business. Second, the
network serves the philosophy of Ted Turner, founder of Turner Broadcasting System.
According to Santos, it is Turner's belief that it is a right of the people around the world
to have access to balanced information and news, but CNN en Espafiol was created as a
business venture (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999).
In the early 1990s, the Latin American cable market was expanding and, prior to
CNN en Espafiol, competition was already developing in the region (B. Hesskamp,
personal communication, October 11, 1999). Turner Broadcasting System had already
entered the market in 1991 with its launch of TNT Latin America, but the company had
not fully tapped the international news market like it had in the United States through its
CNN and CNN Headline News networks. The executives of Turner Broadcasting knew
that they had to get into the business or risk dropping behind in the race to deliver
international news programming to Latin America (B. Hesskamp, personal
communication, October 11, 1999).
Turner Broadcasting System's willingness to develop a Spanish-language news
service had existed for years. In 1989, CNN was producing two half-hours of Spanish-
language network news for the Telemundo television network.1 These newscasts were
the equivalent of the nightly national newscasts produced by the three U.S. networks,
ABC, CBS, and NBC (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). By the
early 1990s, the relationship between CNN and Telemundo ended. The department
known as CNN Spanish, which had been producing those newscasts, began producing
Spanish-language newscasts for CNN International (B. Hesskamp, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). Over the next few years, CNN Spanish increased its
amount of daily news programming from two half-hours, to four half-hours, and
eventually six half-hours. These newscasts were produced Monday through Friday and
were broadcast on CNN International (D. Mastrangelo, personal communication, October
From CNN Spanish's involvement with CNN International grew the possibilities
of developing a 24-hour Spanish-language news channel. The idea of delivering 24-hours
1 Telemundo Group, Inc. is a Spanish-language television network based in Miami,
Florida. The Telemundo network is available in 61 U.S. markets. The network also
syndicates original programming to the international marketplace (Telemundo 51, 1999).
of Spanish-language news was investigated for years, but financial projections did not
support such a venture (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). For
years CNN Spanish operated at a loss. However, it continued to produce Spanish-
language news because, according to Santos, Ted Turner felt that it was necessary to
provide this service to Latin America.
Rolando Santos, President of CNN en Espaiiol, states that Ted Turner believes
that everyone in the world has a right to receive balanced news and information. He
The key reason (for the creation of CNN en Espafiol) is that Ted Turner's
philosophy has always been that it is a right of the people around the world
to have balanced information and news at their fingertips. A right, not a
privilege. His idea from the very beginning twenty years ago was to
provide that around the world. So, we're the latest extension of that.
Beyond that, it's a business... Ted operated CNN en Espaiol at a loss for
a whole lot of years. Before it became a 24-hour network, he operated for
five years at a loss, a significant loss. It mattered to him, but it didn't
matter in the sense that it was something that needed to be done. But
eventually, like all projects, I have to make sure that it operates in a
financially sound manner so that it continues not just to move forward, but
grow. (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999)
It was this philosophy that helped create CNN and the CNN News Group, and it
was this philosophy that created programming such as "World Report." Turner's
philosophy allowed CNN to produce its six half-hours of Spanish-language news
programming, but it was not until a potentially profitable plan was approved that CNN
would undertake a 24-hour Spanish-language news network (C. Crommett, personal
communication, October 6, 1999).
Beyond Turner's ideals and the business possibilities of a 24-hour network, there
was also consumer demand for such a product (C. Rittenberry, personal communication,
October 9, 1999). For years, cable operators, and consumers, in Latin America had
wanted a CNN-type news service in Spanish. However, there were economic issues and
there were problems with cable penetration (B. Hesskamp, personal communication,
October 11, 1999).
In 1994, the Latin American market was growing. The economies of South
America were healthy and the cable industry was expanding (Paxman, 1996a). By 1996,
problems which had always maligned the Latin American cable television industry were
coming to light. A key issue was distribution since many cable systems were limited to
thirty channels (Paxman, 1996a). Another issue was ethnic diversity. Unlike the United
States, where programming can be relevant from California to New York, Latin America
is an area consisting of over twenty countries. Each has a distinct culture and
government. The region which had once been considered homogenous for its common
language was now seen as a heterogeneous region, with each region requiring distinct
programming (Paxman, 1996b). This factor would have to be part of CNN en Espafiol's
Another issue affecting the growth of the cable business in Latin America was that
those who subscribed to cable television were generally individuals with higher incomes,
as they were the ones who could afford to pay for such a service (C. Crommett, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). So, even if cable was available, not everyone could
afford it. It would not be possible to start a new network with a subscriber base that
consisted only of a small group of elite individuals (B. Hesskamp, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). These factors resulted in a period where a feasible
business plan to support a 24-hour Spanish-language news network could not be
developed. The technology to make such a venture work was not yet available and,
financially, a 24-hour network was not a possibility (R. Santos, personal communication,
October 6, 1999).
By the mid 1990s, Turner Broadcasting System had developed several business
plans for a 24-hour Spanish-language news service, but they were not financially viable
(C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). Due to fiscal concerns, such
as low cable penetration, delivering 24-hours of Spanish-language news would require a
tight business plan (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). The plan
could not initially rely on high subscriber rates for profit. To make the project work,
more would have to be done with less (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October
11, 1999). The idea of delivering 24-hours of news went back and forth until the
technology that would make a business plan work became available. This technology
included digital television equipment ranging from computer systems to high-end graphic
and production facilities as well as digital, nonlinear editing systems (B. Hesskamp,
personal communication, October 11, 1999). The technology would have to allow for an
individual to do more work in less time. The high-end equipment would also have to be
capable of consolidating tasks so that CNN en Espafiol's programs could be produced
with smaller numbers of employees (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11,
1999). Eventually, the approved business plan would require the use of state of the art
technology with a staff that could perform more than one task (D. Mastrangelo, personal
communication, October 7, 1999). This was the beginning of CNN en Espafiol.
Creating the Network
Failure was not an option. (Debra Morton, Former Manager of Network
and New Business Operations for CNN en Espafiol)
The Person Behind the Network
To say that the approval of a business plan was all that was necessary to start
CNN en Espafiol is an understatement. Someone was responsible for initiating the
business plan process. That someone was Rolando Santos. It was Santos who presented
the idea of a 24-hour Spanish-language news channel to Ted Turner (D. Mastrangelo,
personal communication, October 7, 1999). Santos was the driving force. He was the
ring leader that envisioned the project and made it a reality.
For years Rolando Santos, now the president of CNN en Espafiol, had lobbied for
the project (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999). Santos had been
with CNN Spanish since its days of producing news programming for Telemundo (D.
Mastrangelo, personal communication, October 7, 1999). He had worked for a
Telemundo affiliate in Los Angeles before coming to CNN. While there, Santos was
promoted by Telemundo to the position of executive producer of the Telemundo
newscasts produced by CNN. When the Telemundo/CNN relationship ended, CNN
asked Santos to stay on as executive producer for the newscasts that would be produced
for CNN International (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). Santos
agreed and from this position he was later promoted to managing director. He was then
promoted several more times to the positions of vice president, executive vice president,
and to his current position as president of the network that became CNN en Espafol (R.
Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999).
Initial Research and the Development of the Business Plan
Although research had been conducted to determine the viability of a 24-hour
Spanish-language news network, the decision of whether or not CNN should venture
forth with CNN en Espafol was a business decision (D. Mastrangelo, personal
communication, October 7, 1999). Former Vice President of Marketing for TBS Latin
America, Madeleine Wiener states:
The research specifically for CNN en Espafiol came shortly before the
announcement that we were going to launch, and it was more to figure out
what we were going to call it. But, we had already researched, years
before, habits and things like that.... So the research that we had to do
specifically for the launch was more the name and then just continuing our
usual research that we always do. (M. Wiener, personal communication,
October 9, 1999)
The majority of the research conducted was aimed at determining the necessities
and limitations of a business plan (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6,
1999). This research included market studies to determine distribution and potential
advertising dollars and market studies in key regions such as Mexico and Argentina (C.
Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). The studies in Mexico and
Argentina were aimed at defining the potential clientele of the network and the
programming that was currently airing in Latin America (C. Crommett, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). Technological research into specific types of
equipment would intensify once a business plan had been approved (B. Hesskamp,
personal communication, October 11 1999).2
2 The technology researched included various brands of computer, editing, graphic and
production equipment as well as software for this equipment.
Focus groups were used to develop a list of potential names for CNN's 24-hour
Spanish-language news channel (M. Wiener, personal communication, October 9, 1999).
From the onset, Ted Turner had said that the name of the channel would be CNN en
Espafiol, but the marketing department felt that research was necessary to make such an
important decision (M. Wiener, personal communication, October 9, 1999).
The focus groups produced a list of names, and the marketing department then
turned to quantitative research to choose a name from that list. The initial list consisted
of names such as CNN Hispano, CNN Latino, CNN Latino America and CNN where the
last "N" in CNN was replaced by the Spanish letter "`." From here, the marketing
department chose to conduct mall and telephone surveys in Argentina and Mexico
because these countries represent two distinct variations of the Spanish language (M.
Wiener, personal communication, October 9, 1999). Although Spanish is the native
language of both, there are distinct differences in accents and dialect (C. Rittenberry,
personal communication, October 9, 1999). The research showed that the name of the
network should be CNN en Espahol (M. Wiener, personal communication, October 9,
1999). Ted Turner's instinct had been correct.
The development of the business plan was aided by the fact that Turner
Broadcasting and CNN had planned to launch a 24-hour sports news and information
channel in the last quarter of 1996 (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11,
1999). This network was CNN Sports Illustrated (CNN/SI), a joint venture between CNN
and Sports Illustrated magazine. CNN/SI was a model for the future of the CNN News
Group's operations (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). It was a
network designed to accomplish more program output with less personnel. CNN/SI
accomplished this by utilizing state of the art technology that allowed for a smaller, more
efficient staff (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
In theory, it seemed that CNN en Espafiol might be able to follow directly in the
footsteps of CNN/SI. However, because sports programming and news programming
were different, CNN en Espaiol could not follow the CNN/SI model (D. Morton,
personal communication, October 11, 1999). Logistically, editorially and operationally
CNN en Espafiol would require a unique operation.
The business plan did not allow CNN en Espafiol to operate with a staff as large
as that of CNN or CNNI. While CNN has 475 employees in Atlanta and CNNI has 275
in Atlanta, CNN en Espafiol would operate with less than 160 employees worldwide (B.
Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). Those involved in the
development of CNN en Espafol's business plan knew that the only way to get the
network started was to have each employee performing several tasks (B. Hesskamp,
personal communication, October 11, 1999). CNN en Espafiol's small staff would
require state of the art technology that would allow them to produce the same amount of
work, or more, as other CNN networks all while living up to the standards of the CNN
networks (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). For CNN en Espafol,
the traditional way of producing news was history (D. Morton, personal communication,
October 11, 1999). CNN en Espafiol was starting from scratch.
Finding a Location For CNN en Espafiol
Our stock and trade is being able to see the world, and in this case the
region, through eyes that can be as objective as possible. (Christopher
Crommett, Vice President and News Director, CNN en Espafiol)
There were many editorial, financial and technical obstacles to overcome in
creating CNN en Espafiol, but one of the biggest issues was finding a location to house
the network. Many thought it should be in an area with a large Hispanic community.
Cities such as Miami, San Antonio and Los Angeles were considered (R. Santos, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). There was even discussion about locating the network
somewhere in Latin America. The problem with locating it in Latin America was finding
a country that was suitable to CNN's operating procedures. Moreover, by locating it in
any particular country in the region, CNN en Espafiol ran the risk of alienating some of its
audience (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). In the end, the
network stayed in Atlanta with the other CNN networks.
There were two primary reasons for locating CNN en Espafiol in Atlanta. The
first was infrastructure. To operate CNN in a city other than Atlanta would have been
costly and time consuming (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). CNN
en Espafiol would have had to rent or purchase a building and all of the technology and
resources available in the CNN Center would have to be duplicated in CNN en Espafol's
remote location (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
The CNN Center in Atlanta receives satellite feeds from around the world. It is
where the satellite transmission and reception resources for the CNN News Group are
located (D. Mastrangelo, personal communication, October 7, 1999). All material
originating from CNN's 3800journalists and 34 international news bureaus arrives at
CNN in Atlanta (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). There are also
numerous editorial, studio, graphic and video resources (C. Crommett, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). Staying in Atlanta allowed CNN en Espafiol easy
access to these resources. Something as simple as getting video to a remote location
would have been cost prohibitive if CNN en Espafiol were in a city other than Atlanta (B.
Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
Secondly, being located in the United States allowed CNN en Espafol to be free
from foreign government pressures (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6,
1999). Editorially, being located in the United States allowed CNN en Espafiol to control
its journalistic integrity. In Latin America there is a history of governments controlling
media outlets (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). By staying in
the United States, CNN en Espaftol did not have to worry about a government shutting
the network down for reporting a story (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6,
1999). For Latin Americans it would be a welcome change to receive uncensored news
and information in their native language.
The CNN en Espafiol Facility
Once it was decided that CNN en Espafiol would be located in Atlanta, the
development of the network's physical plant began. CNN en Espafiol was set to launch
in the first quarter of 1997. The new network was allocated a space on the lobby level of
the CNN Center (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). Compared to the
other networks housed in the CNN Center, CNN en Espafiol's space was relatively
Every CNN network has a room known as "Terminal Gear" (B. Hesskamp,
personal communication, October 11, 1999). It is where the mainframe apparatus and
3 Other CNN Networks located in the CNN Center include CNN, CNN Airport Network,
CNN Headline News, CNN Interactive, CNN International and CNN Sports Illustrated.
computer hardware of the network are located. Terminal Gear is an area with seemingly
thousands of cables running in from both the raised floor and suspended ceiling. It is
where engineers fix technical problems. For CNN en Espafiol, Terminal Gear would be
an important aspect in the final design of the physical plant (B. Hesskamp, personal
communication, October 11, 1999).
With the design of the physical facility underway, it was time to decide what
equipment would be used in that facility. The approval of the business plan gave way to
researching available technology. This was done by Bob Hesskamp, Vice President of
Operations for CNN International and Debra Morton, Manager of Network Operations for
CNN en Espafiol. They took the capital allotted and investigated what technology they
could afford to make the business plan work (D. Morton, personal communication,
October 11, 1999).4 Hesskamp and Morton examined equipment such as digital
nonlinear editing systems, video switchers, robotic cameras and software that would be
compatible with that equipment (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
In April of 1996, Hesskamp and Morton traveled to the National Association of
Broadcasters trade show to search for this equipment (B. Hesskamp, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). The facility plan called for two control rooms, so
concessions had to be made on equipment choices (B. Hesskamp, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). Hesskamp and Morton chose lower-end models and
passed on high-end equipment features so that both control rooms could be equally
equipped (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). Because CNN en
4 The amount of capital funds was not disclosed to the researcher. Turner Broadcasting
System policy does not allow disclosure of such information.
Espafiol was a news channel, the network did not require high-end features like those
found in the post-production facilities of entertainment-based networks. It was to the
benefit of the CNN en Espafiol to have two fully functional control rooms rather than one
high-end control room with features that would not be used on a daily basis (B.
Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
By the third quarter of 1996, the design of the plant had undergone numerous
phases (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). Early plans called for
a mezzanine and an elevator in the newsroom. There were also plans for separate studio
spaces (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999). Although the business
plan had been approved, adjustments to the budget within the plan were still being made.
By the time the final budgets were approved, time more than money became an issue in
the design of the facility (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
Due to time limitations, the plans for the mezzanine and elevator were scrapped. It was
simply not possible to produce the steel to support these architectural features in time to
make a first quarter launch (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
The plan for multiple studios was also changed. The facility would now contain one
large studio space (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
Terminal Gear became the central point in the design in the facility. Edit bays and
the control rooms were placed in close proximity to the room so that the engineers would
have relatively short cable runs from those rooms to Terminal Gear (B. Hesskamp,
personal communication, October 11, 1999). This was important because by the first
quarter of 1997, the facility was still being built. Placing these rooms close to terminal
gear would allow the engineers to make the rooms functional in less time (B. Hesskamp,
personal communication, Octoberl 1, 1999).
A Nonlinear Environment
The creators of CNN en Espafol conceded that to make the staffing aspects of the
business plan work, CNN en Espafiol would be a digital, nonlinear network that would
rely on digital computer systems, as opposed to analog videotape systems (B. Hesskamp,
personal communication, October 11, 1999). There would be no machine to machine
video editing. Everything had to be done from a computer server. No longer would
video air from a videotape player (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11,
1999). Video editors would have to be able to do more in less time.
To accomplish this, CNN en Espafiol purchased Quantel edit systems that allowed
editing via a video server (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
The traditional method of using two tape machines and two videotapes would not be part
of CNN en Espafiol. Editing would now be accomplished with a computer. The
shuttle/jog wheels that were part of the machine-to-machine edit system were replaced
with Quantel drawing tablets and Quantel computer pens. The basic premise was that
once video was inputted into the server, anyone with access to that server could use the
video (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999).
There were numerous advantages to the nonlinear Quantel system. The biggest
was that multiple users could simultaneously access the same material (D. Morton,
personal communication, October 11, 1999). Users did not have to worry about making
copies of videotapes so that others could use them. No longer would tapes have to be run
into a control room at the last minute. The video could simply be played back from the
server (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999)
However, even with this new technology, videotape could not completely be
forgotten (D. Morton, personal communication. October 11, 1999). CNN en Espafiol had
to find a way to use videotape because video archives were recorded on Sony Beta SP
videotape, and other networks within the CNN News Group used Beta SP tape (D.
Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999). The problem with Beta SP was
that it was an analog format. There would have to be a way to use the analog tapes with
CNN en Espafiol's digital system. For this, CNN en Espafiol purchased a new hybrid
tape machine that had been developed by Sony (B. Hesskamp, personal communication,
October 11, 1999). The new format was Beta SX. SX was digital, but the SX machines
allowed for playback of both Beta SX digital tapes and Beta SP analog tapes. With one
machine, CNN en Espafiol could use digital and analog tapes. Beta SX allowed CNN en
Espafiol to use any material that was available within the CNN News Group (D. Morton,
personal communication, October 11, 1999).
Knowing that computer systems are not 100% reliable, CNN en Espaiol had
contingency plans. The Beta SX videotape machines were part of that plan. Every edit
bay was equipped with an SX machine (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October
11, 1999). The SX machines were connected to each Quantel edit system to allow for
direct input from an SX or SP tape and to allow for direct output from the Quantel system
to a digital SX tape. If the servers failed, SX tape could be used (D. Morton, personal
communication, October 11, 1999).
Staffing the Network
Finding on-air talent was not difficult for CNN en Espaflol. The network already
had two anchors (Jorge Gestoso and Patricia Janiot) from the six half-hours of news
programming it produced for CNN International (C. Rittenberry, personal
communication, October 9, 1999). Other on-air talent came from networks in Latin
America and Spain as well as from CBS Telenoticias, CNN en Espafiol's main
competitor (D. Mastrangelo, personal communication, October 7, 1999). For on-air
talent, CNN en Espailol was the pinnacle of broadcasting. No other network would allow
them to reach as many countries with the prestige associated with the CNN name.
Hiring editorial staff such as writers, copy editors, and producers at CNN en
Espafol proved to be a challenge (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6,
1999). Although many people wanted to work for CNN, it was hard to convince Latin
Americans to relocate to a city not known for its Hispanic culture (D. Mastrangelo,
personal communication, October 7, 1999). To make things easier, CNN en Espafiol paid
for visas and moving expenses (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999).
The management spoke with local churches and found out which ones performed services
in Spanish. Management also found businesses that spoke Spanish. They set up tax
seminars and worked with a credit union to help new employees finance housing and
transportation (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). It was a
concentrated effort at making new employees, that were away from home, feel welcome.
In January of 1997, the new staff of CNN en Espafol arrived to Atlanta. They
came from throughout Latin America and Europe. The veteran staff, which had been
producing the CNN International newscasts, began training the new staff on the methods
and equipment that CNN en Espafol would use (C. Crommett, personal communication,
October 6, 1999).
Perhaps the most important aspect in the hiring process was finding people who
were willing to learn new equipment and procedures and could perform more than one
task (D. Mastrangelo, personal communication, October 7, 1999). CNN en Espafiol's
business plan called for a small staff, and that meant that each person would carry a larger
responsibility. CNN en Espafiol had set up training and practice rooms in CNN Center
for employees, and the existing staff had been learning the Quantel systems since October
of 1996 (D. Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999). When the newest
members of the staff began arriving, they also began training on the Quantel systems. By
March of 1997, every member of the staff had a basic understanding of the system and
everyone knew how to use its basic functions (D. Morton, personal communication,
October 11, 1999).
The staff which comprised CNN en Espafiol was unique. It consisted of editorial
staff, operations (technical) staff and management. The editorial staff was selected from
Latin America and Europe (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). It was
important that those involved in the editorial processes of the network such as writing,
copyediting and anchoring represent a broad region. They had to be native to Latin
America or Spain. Spanish had to be a first language and they had to be immersed in
their respective cultures (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999). Because
CNN en Espafol was targeting a diverse region, the editorial and on-air staff which
would be producing and presenting information had to be diverse enough to represent the
entire Latin American region (R. Santos, personal communication, October 6, 1999).
The majority of the technical staff came from the United States.5 The reason was
that the United States is technologically advanced in the field of television (D. Morton,
personal communication, October 11, 1999). Many of those who came to CNN en
Espafiol had experience in similar television operations. They had computer experience
and they knew how to use variations of the latest television equipment. Although they
had Hispanic backgrounds, Spanish did not have to be their first language (R. Santos,
personal communication, October 6, 1999). Working in a technical position did not
require the first-hand cultural experience necessary to work in an editorial position. With
technical staff, the hiring process was aimed at technical expertise (R. Santos, personal
communication, October 6, 1999).
Selling the Network to Advertisers and Cable Operators
The promotion of CNN en Espahol had been ongoing for several years (M.
Wiener, personal communication, October 9, 1999). Cable operators wanted the service
and so did Hispanic viewers (C. Rittenberry, personal communication, October 9, 1999).
The network was sold on the basis that it was not an imitation or a translation. It was
CNN, but in Spanish with a Latin American perspective (C. Crommett, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). The CNN brand name was key because when people
heard "CNN," they knew they would be getting quality, unbiased, uncensored and
breaking news (C. Crommett, personal communication, October 6, 1999). It was now a
matter of making the facility, equipment and staff meld to produce the product.
5 It should be noted that the researcher had worked at CNN as well as having previously
worked at other local television stations in the United States.
Operation of CNN en Espafiol
Just because you have the name doesn't necessarily mean you have the
product. You have to live up to the name and then carry that name to the
next level. (Rolando Santos, President of CNN en Espafiol)
On March 17, 1997, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, CNN en Espafiol
launched with four million subscribers. It was the largest cable television launch in Latin
American history (C. Rittenberry, personal communication, October 9, 1999). The initial
planning was over and CNN en Espafiol was a 24-hour Spanish-language cable news
network for Latin America. The challenge now was to keep it running.
Observations of the Researcher
The daily operation of CNN en Espafiol was observed by the researcher through
participant observation. The researcher performed the role of a newscast director for
CNN en Espaiol, thus taking part in the daily operation of the network. By working
within CNN en Espafiol, the researcher was able to gain information on procedures and
decisions that were made within all aspects of the network's creation and daily
operations. The researcher also observed managerial decisions, noting which worked and
which did not. The following are the observations of the researcher.
Pre-Launch Operation of CNN en Espafol
In December of 1996, the network was three months from launch, and
construction was not finished. The drywall of the CNN en Espafiol facility was not
completed, there was no carpeting on the floor, and there was no paint on the walls.
However, CNN en Espafol's Terminal Gear was in place.
In the meantime, CNN Spanish was still producing its newscasts for CNN
International. It would not be until early March, 1997, that the staff of CNN en Espafol
could begin rehearsing in the new CNN en Espafol facility. The network would launch
on March 17th, 1997. When rehearsals did start, workers were still busy painting, laying
tile and bringing in furniture. The engineers were still running cables, connecting
monitors and testing equipment. With construction ongoing, it did not seem like a 24-
hour news network was launching in just a few weeks.
By the second week of March, 1997, CNN en Espafol's newsroom and studio
space were in useable condition and rehearsals began. The facility was not complete, but
it was at a point where it could go on the air. The facility contained five nonlinear
Quantel edit bays, two control rooms, a master control room, a satellite feeds reception
area, an office, restroom facilities, terminal gear and a newsroom. In the center of the
newsroom was the studio floor.
The CNN en Espafiol Program Schedule (Grid)
The programming on CNN en Espafiol is diverse. It consists primarily of
international news, but also contains programming about business news, entertainment
news, and sports news. There are also feature programs that cover the following topics:
the environment, fashion, medicine, technology, and travel. CNN en Espafiol's feature
programming is oriented so that each program focuses on various aspects of a particular
subject. The network also produces its own version of the CNN program "World
CNN en Espafiol also produces other programming that airs on weekends. This
programming includes "Los Protagonistas" (The Protagonists), "La Noticia de La
Semana" (The News of the Week), and "Choque de Opiniones" (Opinion Clashes). "Los
Protagonistas" is a weekly recap of interviews produced by CNN en Espafiol. The
program focuses on the biggest news stories of the week and presents the opinions of
various experts about those stories. "La Noticia de La Semana" recaps the major news
stories of the week. "Choque de Opiniones" is very similar to the CNN program
"Crossfire." The program consists of varying hosts who debate with experts and
politicians about various subjects. The debates focus on a topic that has been of
relevance during the week. Table 5.1 lists CNN en Espafiol's programs.
Table 5.1 CNN en Espafiol Programs
Pror IBi T|pe
Ahora News Update
Choque de Opiniones Debate (Topics Vary)
Consulta M6dica Feature: Medicine
de Moda Feature: Fashion
Deportes CNN Sports News
Destinos Feature: Travel
Ecologica Feature: Environment
Economia y Finanzas Business News
El Mundo Informa Feature: World Report
Escenario Entertainment News
La Noticia de La Semana Weekly News Recap
Los Protagonistas Weekly News Recap
Noticiero CNN Internacional News
Nuestro Mundo News
Panorama Mundial News
Primera Edici6n News
The program grid is designed so that the top of the hour starts with a thirty minute
news program. At the bottom of the hour there is a ninety second news update called
"Ahora" which means "Now." The bottom half of the hour consists of one of the
aforementioned feature programs. The grid is easily breakable and is often interrupted by
breaking news. If a news story is happening, it takes priority and all other programming
is skipped until the story is no longer breaking. The goal is for CNN en Espafiol to be the
primary source of news and information for Latin America.
The Departments Within CNN en Espafiol
CNN en Espafiol operates with nine unique units, not including management.
They are the assignment desk, business, engineering, entertainment, feature
programming, graphics, news, operations, sports and transadaption. These units all take
part in creating the network's programming. Figure 5.1 shows the different units and
positions within CNN en Espafiol and how they relate to each other. Each unit is
The assignment desk is the unit responsible for all incoming information. The
members of the assignment desk, known as assignment editors, spend the majority of
their days reading news wires and making telephone calls to acquire and verify
information. The desk coordinates satellite feeds and books guests that will appear on
CNN en Espafiol's programs.
The business unit is responsible for gathering and presenting CNN en Espafiol's
business news. The staff works in conjunction with the assignment desk to book guests
for its programs. The business unit, which consists of two producers and an anchor,
-Mana t CNN en Espalol I Development
] Operations Staff .....
P Marketing and Public RelatiOns
] Other Departments
I Vice President
4 - ---------- . . . .. . . .
Figure 5-1. Flow of Programming for CNN en Espafiol.
produces business segments for newscasts that air throughout the day, and has a nightly
half-hour program.6 The producers find guests, write stories, and build "rundowns" for
their shows. The "rundown" is a detailed list of elements which comprise a show; it
6 The business unit's program, "Economia y Finanzas" airs Monday through Friday.
They do not produce a show on the weekends because the stock exchanges are closed.
contains all graphic, video, and timing information. A CNN en Espafiol rundown can be
seen in Appendix D.
Engineering is responsible for installing new equipment and fixing any equipment
that malfunctions. The engineers have an engineering workshop and office that is located
behind the CNN en Espafiol newsroom space. They are responsible for physically
keeping the technical aspects of the network running. The engineers are in constant
communication with the staff of CNN en Espafiol via a two-way radio.
Feature programming focuses on environment, fashion, medicine, technology and
travel. Each branch of the features unit produces a weekly half-hour program about these
topics. Each show in the features unit has its own producer. The producers write, edit
and line produce their shows if necessary.7
The same version of the feature programs runs for a one-week period. Because
these programs do not require daily updates, they can be produced for air with a Quantel
Editbox. The Quantel Editbox allows the feature producers to bypass the control room
and edit their programs without the help of production staff.8 This frees the control room
for live programming and daily program changes.
CNN en Espafiol also has an entertainment programming unit. This unit is
distinct in that it produces a nightly half-hour show about entertainment news. The
entertainment unit's program, "Escenario," is produced in Atlanta and Los Angeles. In
7 A line-produced show is produced in the control room with the help of the technical
8 The Quantel Editbox is a nonlinear edit system which allows a single user to record
video and audio material into a video server. The material can then be edited to produce
Los Angeles, the "Escenario" team consists of an anchor, editor, and reporter. The Los
Angeles team gathers the latest daily news from Hollywood and the world of
entertainment and produces segments for the show. These segments include stories and
anchor links. Anchor links are simply introductions to stories which are pre-recorded by
the show's anchor in Los Angeles. The completed segments are then sent to Atlanta via
satellite. In Atlanta, there is an editor who also edits segments for the show. Once the
show's segments and anchor links have been completed, the Atlanta line producer takes
the show to the control room to be recorded.
The graphics department is responsible for the on-air graphic look of the network.
This includes the look of the newsroom and studio, including set design. The department
consists of six graphic artists. These artists create all visuals which appear in CNN en
Espafiol's programming. These visuals include boxes,9 full screens'0 and opens.11
To have graphics made, the editorial staff submits graphics request to the graphics
department via CNN en Espafiol's newsroom computer system. When a graphics request
is completed, the artist saves the graphic on a computer server. Once the graphic is in the
server, it may be recalled in both of CNN en Espafiol's control rooms. The graphic can
then be used in a program.
9 A "box" is a graphic which appears over an anchors shoulder while the anchor reads a
story on camera.
10 A "full screen" is a graphic which covers the entire space of a television screen. Full
screens include graphics such as maps, charts, and still pictures.
S1 An "open" is a video introduction to a program or program segment. It contains audio
and a visual which usually includes the name of the program. The intent is to let the
viewer know what program they are watching.
The news unit is responsible for the news programming that consumes the
majority of CNN en Espaiol's program grid. The news department consists of twelve
producers, twelve writers, six copy editors and nine primary anchors. The news
department decides the content within a news program. Once that content is chosen, the
producer of a particular show builds a rundown. There are four different teams within the
news department. Each team works a different shift and is responsible for a series of
newscasts that air throughout the day.
The Operations unit consists of the technical staff, who executes the programs
designed by the news department. Operations staff includes six directors, fourteen video
editors, twelve master control operators and five technical assistants. Directors are
responsible for directing the on-air programming, which is designed by the producer.
Directors are aided by technical assistants, who operate graphics machines, audio, and
camera robotics. Editors are responsible for editing all video material that airs on CNN
en Espafiol. The editors also record incoming satellite feeds and use the recorded video
to produce material that appears on the air. Master Control operators are responsible for
getting CNN en Espafiol's programming on the air. They control the outgoing
programming of the network and run the commercials.
The sports department produces sports segments that air in newscasts throughout
the day. The department also produces a nightly half-hour comprehensive sports
program. The sports department consists of three producers, two editors and two anchors.
The sports producers and anchors find guests and write stories for their shows. The
producer decides what material to use, and the editors then edit video to accompany the
stories that will appear in a program.
Transadaption is one of the most important units in CNN en Espafiol. The staff is
responsible for translating or "transadapting" other languages into Spanish. This allows
CNN en Espafiol to use material from around the world, presenting it in Spanish. It also
allows CNN en Espafiol to cover live world events because the transadaption unit can
"transadapt" a live news event as it happens.
A Day in the Life of CNN en Espafol
CNN en Espafiol operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is never
intentionally off the air. There is always a crew on hand. In the overnight hours between
midnight and 4:00 a.m. the staff consists of an assignment editor, video editor and master
control operator. They are replaced as the later shifts arrive.
The daily operation of CNN en Espaiol begins at 2:00 a.m. when the "overnight"
editorial shift arrives. This group will produce and write the first newscast of the day,
"Primera Edici6n" ("First Edition"). "Primera Edici6n" airs live at 5:00 a.m. The show
continues to air on the hour until 11:00 a.m. when the "Nuestro Mundo" ("Our World")
news program begins airing.
At 3:30 a.m., the first shift of video editors arrives. They replace the overnight
video editor that has been on duty since the evening before. The first editor shift edits
any new material that will air on "Primera Edici6n." At 4:30 a.m., the technical crew
arrives. This includes the director, master control operators and technical assistants.
The director and technical assistants work in the control room and studio while
the morning master control operators relieve the overnight master control operator. Upon
arriving to work, the technical assistants set up the studio for the 5:00 a.m. "Primera
Edici6n" while the director speaks with the show's producer to see if there are any special
technical requirements for the first show of the day. The technical assistants and director
then check the set, microphones, cameras, IFBs,12 audio board, video switcher, Clip Play
program,13 Imagestorel4 and Maxine.15 If the technical crew finds that equipment is
malfunctioning, an engineer is called to resolve the problem before the 5:00 a.m.
About ten minutes before 5:00 a.m., the producer enters the control room and
prepares to take the show on the air. At this time, the anchor sits on the set and a
technical assistant prepares camera shots. From here, communication between directors
and the members of the production crew is carried on through a party line. Each member
of the technical crew wears a headset, which is connected to the party line. The director
is now responsible for executing the producer's rundown as a live newscast. The director
directs the show while one technical assistant operates audio and robotic cameras and
another technical assistant operates the Imagestore and Maxine graphics machines.
Before the show starts, the director begins recording on a Quantel Newsbox that is
located next to the video switcher in the control room. The Quantel Newsbox is a
12 IFB is an acronym for "Interruptible Fold Back." It allows an anchor or reporter to
hear programming in their ear via an ear piece. The IFB also allows anyone with access
to the IFB system to talk directly into the ear of the person wearing the IFB.
13 Clip Play is a program which allows for direct playback of video from the video server.
14 Imagestore is the model name ofCNN en Espaftol's still store machine. The still store
machine contains a database of graphics that are used in CNN en Espahol's
15 Maxine is the model name of CNN en Espafiol's character generator.
nonlinear edit system that allows a single user to record audio and video material into a
computer server. This material can then be edited to produce a replayable program.
At 5:30 a.m., a live ninety second update of the hour's top stories is produced.
This update is entitled "Ahora." After "Ahora," Master Control returns to prerecorded
Because the director recorded the entire 5:00 a.m. show and "Ahora" on a Quantel
Newsbox, there are two scenarios which can now occur. "Primera Edici6n" is scheduled
to air again at 6:00 a.m. If there is no new material for the 6:00 a.m. show, the recorded
newscast can be replayed. This gives the director thirty minutes to edit the show into
playable segments that can be replayed by Master Control. The director will edit the
recorded program into segments called "blocks."l6 Each "block" represents one section
of a newscast. The finished edited product will consist of five segments. The first four
segments are the four blocks that make up a newscast. The fifth segment is the "Ahora."
Appendix D contains a CNN en Espafiol rundown that shows how a newscast is divided
If there were any errors in the show, they can be re-recorded and inserted into the
prerecorded newscast. If there are updates to the newscast, the director has the option of
recording the updates and inserting them into the existing newscast or redoing the
newscast live again at 6:00 a.m. This decision is made by the director as he is responsible
for the final on-air product. If the director feels that updates cannot be recorded and
16 CNN en Espafiol's newscasts consist of four blocks. The blocks are entitled A, B, C,
and D, respectively.
inserted in time to make the 6:00 a.m. replay, the new portions of the newscast are done
This process continues throughout the day. From 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., the
newscasts can be live or recorded. If there is new material or breaking news, the
programs are usually live unless the new segments can be recorded and saved before their
scheduled air time. It there are no changes, the latest recorded version of the news
At 7:00 a.m. the next editorial shift arrives. This group will produce the "Nuestro
Mundo" newscasts, which begin airing at 11:00 a.m. The technical crew does not
change. At 11:00 a.m., the third news shift and second shift of editors arrives. They will
produce the 4:00 p.m. show, "Noticiero CNN" (CNN Newscast).
The 11:00 a.m. show, "Nuestro Mundo" airs on the hour until 4:00 p.m. The
show utilizes a different anchor and producer than "Primera Edici6n." The "Nuestro
Mundo" producer, anchor and editorial staff will work with the morning technical staff
until 12:30 p.m., when the second shift of technical staff arrives. The second shift of
technical staff replaces the morning crew and works until 9:00 p.m. The routine for the
"Nuestro Mundo" shift is the same as for "Primera Edici6n:" The show airs on the hour
and can be live or prerecorded after 11:00 a.m. Whether "Nuestro Mundo" airs live or
recorded depends on the same factors as whether "Primera Edici6n" airs live or recorded.
At 4:00 p.m., "Noticiero CNN" airs. This newscast utilizes a different anchor and
producer than "Nuestro Mundo."17 "Noticiero CNN" airs again at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.,
17 "Noticiero CNN" is anchored by Patricia Janiot who along with Jorge Gestoso were
the anchors of the CNN Spanish newscasts formerly produced for CNN International.
6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. newscasts can either be live or recorded.
The 6:30 p.m. version of"Noticiero CNN" is always a live newscast. The reason being
that by 6:30 p.m., the U.S. stock market has closed and the latest business information
can be reported. The 7:00 p.m. "Noticiero CNN" is usually a replay of the 6:30 p.m.
newscast. As with the other programs, whether the program is live or recorded depends
on whether there are any breaking news stories, updates or mistakes that need to be fixed.
The replay of the "Noticiero CNN" newscasts is controlled by Master Control.
Unlike "Primera Edici6n" and "Nuestro Mundo," where the director records the show and
edits it for replay, "Noticiero CNN" is recorded on Beta SX tape and replayed by Master
Control. The reason for the change is that the same newscasts air back to back at 4:00
and 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. This schedule does not give the director a thirty
minute window to edit the show for replay.
The third technical shift arrives at 4:30 p.m. They will work until 12:30 a.m.
This group will work with the second technical shift to cover the afternoon through early
evening period because this is the busiest time of the day for CNN en Espafiol. Between
4:30 and 6:30 p.m., any pre-production or pre-recording that can be done is attempted.
Usually, the last two segments of the 8:30 p.m. "Economia y Finanzas" business program
are recorded at this time because the stock markets have already closed. Pre-recording
parts of this program earlier in the day will allow the technical staff more time to set up
for the 9:00 p.m. show, which will be live.
Because the 7:00 p.m. version of"Noticiero CNN" is usually a tape replay of the
6:30 p.m. show, the control room is available for pre-production at 7:00 p.m. When the
control room is available at 7:00 p.m., portions of the 7:30 p.m. sports program can be
prerecorded. This is done because CNN en Espafol is in live programming from 7:30
p.m. until 9:30 p.m. With back-to-back live programming, there is less than a three-
minute window between shows to change sets and move cameras. By pre-recording parts
of programs, the studio and control room can be cleared earlier, allowing more time to set
up the following program.
At 7:30 p.m. "Deportes CNN" ("CNN Sports") airs as a live program. The show
continues live until it reaches a segment which was prerecorded. If there was no time to
pre-record part of the program, the program continues live until 7:57:05 p.m. At this
time, the technical crew has just under three minutes to set up for the 8:00 p.m. newscast.
At 8:00 p.m. the overnight editors and master control operators arrive.
"Panorama Mundial" ("World View") airs live at 8:00 p.m.18 It is the only
newscast that is always entirely live. It is CNN en Espafiol's prime newscast and it is the
only newscast with two anchors. The anchors are Patricia Janiot and Jorge Gestoso. This
is Janiot's last show for the day, and it is Gestoso's first of the evening. At 8:27:05 p.m.,
"Panorama Mundial" ends. The technical crew has just under three minutes to set up the
8:30 p.m. show.
At 8:30 p.m., "Economia y Finanzas" airs as a live program. The show continues
live until it reaches a point that has been prerecorded. If there was no time to pre-record
part of the program earlier in the day, it continues as a live program until 8:57:05 p.m.
At 9:00 p.m., a new version of "Panorama Mundial" airs as a live program.
Unlike the 8:00 p.m. show, the 9:00 p.m. version only utilizes one anchor. "Panorama
18 The news crew and editors which produce "Panorama Mundial" arrive at 2:00 p.m.
They will produce all newscasts from 8:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.
Mundial" is scheduled to air again at 10:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. The 10:00
p.m. version is usually a replay of the 9:00 p.m. version, and the 12:00 a.m. version is
usually a replay of the 11:00 p.m. version. As with the earlier shows of the day, whether
"Panorama Mundial" airs live or prerecorded depends on breaking news or whether there
are updates or mistakes to be fixed.
Usually at 10:00 p.m., the nightly entertainment program "Escenario" is pre-
recorded. The program is scheduled to air at 12:30 a.m. If the show is not pre-recorded
before its air time, it is produced as a live program. After 1:00 a.m., there is no scheduled
live programming until 5:00 a.m., when the cycle starts again with "Primera Edici6n."
The programming airing from 1:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. varies throughout the week. The
various programs that air in the overnight hours can be seen in Appendix E.
News comprises the majority of CNN en Espafiol's programming. The news
programs are twenty-two minutes in length. As noted, CNN en Espafiol's newscasts are
divided into four segments called "blocks." The length of each block depends on the
producer. Each block is separated by a commercial break of varying lengths, and no
show can be over or under twenty-two minutes in length. Including the commercial
breaks, the show should be twenty-seven minutes and five seconds long. The two
minutes and fifty-five seconds after the program are used for commercials, cue-tone
breaks,19 and network identification.
19 A cue-tone is a tone sent out by a network to alert cable operators that they can insert
local commercials at that time. A cue-tone break is a commercial break which is
embedded with a cue-tone signal.
If a news event is happening, the news programs often continue for more than
twenty-two minutes. Because CNN en Espafiol is primarily a news network, the other
programming of the program grid is secondary.
The preceding explanation is a simplified version of CNN en Espafiol's daily
operation. Figures 5-2, 5-3, 5-4 and 5-5 contain a visual explanation of the CNN en
Espafiol daily workflow explained above. It is important to note that things change on a
daily basis depending on the news events of the world. There are also slight differences
in programming for each day of the week. As a general rule, the newscasts that air each
day do not change. The exception is during the weekends when there are no thirty-minute
newscasts from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Between these hours, there is a ninety-second
"Ahora" every half hour. It should also be noted that any programming may be
preempted for other programming or specials at the discretion of the network's senior
executive producer. For a fuller understanding of the program schedule, CNN en
Espafiol's program grid is available in Appendix E.
Comparing CNN en Espafiol to the other CNN Networks
In relation to the other networks of the CNN News Group, CNN en Espaflol is a
small operation. CNN en Espaflol was designed to utilize technology to a point where
less people could do more work. CNN en Espafiol's control room consists of three
technical people (a director and two technical assistants). In comparison, CNN's control
room consists of nine people; CNN en Espafol has consolidated the jobs of nine people
into five. The same principle has been applied to all areas of the network. This is largely
due to the technology, which, by making things easier, allows CNN en Espafiol
employees to accomplish more work in the same amount of time.
CNN en Espafiol Daily Workflow 12:00 a.m. 6:30 a.m.
- On-Air News Program
I Operations Staff
I Editorial Staff
Overnight Editorial Staff Arrives to prepare "Primera Edici6n"
(Anchor, Copyeditor, Producer, Writer)
9 9 9 9 9 9 I---
Figure 5-2. CNN en Espafiol Daily Workflow 12:00 a.m. 6:30 a.m.
CNN en Espafiol Daily Workflow 6:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m. I
M On-Air News Program
D Operations Staff
] Editorial Staff
"Primea Primera "Primera "Primera Nuestro Nuestro
Edici6n" Edici6n" Edici6n" Edici6n" Mundo" Mundo"
Overnight Editorial Staff
(Anchor, Copyeditor, Producer, Writer)
"Nuestro Mundo" Editorial Staff Arrives
(Anchor, Copyeditor, Producer, Writer)
"Notiiero CNN" Editorial StaffArrives
(Anchor, Copyeditor, Producer, Writer)
| "Ahora" I | "Ahora" ] | "Ahora" I |"Ahora" | "Ahora" I | "Ahora" I
Ihra *hra p pr
Figure 5-3. CNN en Espafiol Daily Workflow 6:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m.
CNN en Espafiol Daily Workflow 12:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.
l On-Air News Program E Operations Staff E Editorial Staff
"Nuestro "Nuestro "Noticier Ahora Ahora
Mundo" Mundo" Mundo" CNN"
1~4a...l.... .... ...
"Nuestro Mundo" Editorial Staff
"Noticiero CNN" Editorial Staff
"Panorama Mundial" Editorial Staff Arrives
(Anchor, Copy Editors, Producer, Writers)
F "Noticiero "Noticiero
S"Ahora" "Ahora" "Ahora" "Ahora" CNN CNN"
EA h0 o 7r,- I CNN" I CNN"
Figure 5-4. CNN en Espafiol Daily Workflow 12:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.
CNN en Espafiol Daily Workflow 7:00 p.m. 12:30 a.m.
E On-Air News Program [ Operations Staff | Editorial Staff
"Noticiero "Panorama aa .a "Panorama
CNN" Mundial" Mundial" Mundial" Mundial" Mundial"
Pre-Production for "Deportes CNN"
(7:00 p.m. -7:30 p.m.)
"Panorama Mundial" Editorial Staff
"Deportes "Economi "Deportes "Economia "Deportes
CNN" y Finanzas" CNN" y Finanzas" CNN" "Escenario"
I7:30 80 9:0 1:0 13 123am
P.M.Y s l P a eY
Figure 5-5. CNN en Espafol Daily Workflow 7:00 p.m. 12:30 a.m.
Problems Encountered by the Network
There were many problems encountered in the initial operation of CNN en
Espafol. The majority of the problems related to the two things that would eventually
make CNN en Espahol a success: staff and technology.
The Employee Technology Mix
When CNN en Espafiol began operation, the network's founders discovered that
the staffing model they had developed had several flaws (D. Morton, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). CNN en Espafiol's newsroom computer system and
Quantel digital video editing system were supposed to make it easier to get CNN en
Espaiol's programming on the air. However, management underestimated the amount of
time it would take for employees to operate the technology (D. Morton, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). CNN en Espafiol management discovered these
problems when the network began rehearsing its 24-hour operation in March, 1997 (D.
Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999). The key factor was that although
the technology consolidated the jobs of several individuals, management failed to realize
how much longer it would take each person to accomplish a task (B. Hesskamp, personal
communication, October 11, 1999).
Because CNN en Espafol was using computer technology, the staff had to be
precise in its input of data. This became most evident with CNN en Espafol's writing
staff (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). The CNN en Espafiol
newsroom computer system, Newswire, allows writers to insert information such as
graphics, fonts, video, and script commands20 into scripts (D. Morton, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). Once information is embedded into a script, the
automation systems ofCNN en Espaiol's control room can recall that information. This
would allow the writers to control the visuals that would accompany their stories (D.
Morton, personal communication, October 11, 1999). However, management didn't
realize how much longer it would take writers to input the extra information (B.
Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11, 1999). With the extra work needed to
include all information on a script, management could not rely on a writer to produce the
same amount of output as before (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11,
1999) As a result, management hired more staff to help take full advantage of the
technology and produce the amount of material necessary for a 24-hour news network.
Although CNN en Espafiol's staff grew as a result of this discovery, the number of
employees added was minimal (B. Hesskamp, personal communication, October 11,
CNN en Espafiol's management also underestimated the amount of time necessary
for employees to learn how to operate the new equipment (D. Morton, personal
communication, October 11, 1999). Although many would learn quickly, management
soon realized that not everyone was adept in all areas (R. Santos, personal
communication, October 6, 1999). CNN en Espafiol President Rolando Santos notes:
Every time the journalism industry was revolutionized--when it went from
film to videotape--there were a bunch of people that got lost. They
couldn't make the psychological jump to this electronic media. Then we
20 Script commands are cues for a program's line director. The commands guide the
director as to the placement of graphics, fonts and video.