MIDWEST & SOUTH
On December 5, 2022, the news and infotainment show Morning Express, broadcast by CNN's sister network HLN, signed off for the last time. Anchored for 21 years by Robin Meade, the program combined brief news segments with sports reporting, national weather, celebrity and lifestyle segments, and a daily "Salute to the Troops" acknowledging the service of our armed forces. The program's Weekend Express edition has also been canceled, and the HLN network will no longer broadcast any live programming.
Despite the enduring popularity of Robin Meade and the other on-air staff, HLN has struggled in recent years to find an audience. The network often carried day-long coverage of high-profile criminal trials, and ran multiple episodes of crime documentaries like Forensic Files throughout the afternoon. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, HLN featured human interest stories about the impact of the disease on regular people, along with the harder news coverage and medical reporting generated by CNN.
Shutting down operations at Morning Express, which was broadcast from the CNN studios in Atlanta, Georgia, is a cost-cutting measure by the new management at CNN, and its parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery. A number of other employees at CNN, including reporters and contributors, have also lost their jobs.
News stories on HLN had avoided (for the most part) leaning toward either end of the political spectrum, as CNN has been criticized for doing in recent years. The end of Morning Express follows the cancellation of another centrist daily news program on competing network CNBC, The News with Shepard Smith, in November 2022, leaving viewers fewer options for finding news without a political slant.
On the air for 30 years, Reliable Sources was the longest-running public affairs series on cable news giant CNN, and one of the few programs in which the media candidly pointed its spotlight toward itself. The August 21 episode was its last, which was accompanied by the announcement that host Brian Stelter would be leaving the network. The cancellation is part of a move by CNN's new management to return to the network's traditional straight news format, featuring less commentary.
As Stelter himself noted during his final broadcast, there will always be a need to examine and critique media: its successes and failures in covering important stories that serve the public interest, and the undeniable influence corporate profits have on the operation of newsrooms -- in print, broadcast, and online outlets of all types.
Journalism students interested in media criticism can find magazine and journal articles on this topic by using the Library databases linked below. Here are just a few of the many publications that cover this industry:
Communication Source (part of EBSCOhost)