Student Handout: Tour Itinerary / Discussion Questions

Directions: As you reach each stop on the Inside CNN Tour, try to complete the tasks and answer
the questions on this sheet.
INTRODUCTION THEATER: Learn about the evolution of a news story from
interviews in the field, to satellites far beyond Earth’s atmosphere, to newsrooms and
then to televisions and mobile devices everywhere.
‰ As you watch the video, track the steps a story takes before you see it in your living
‰ Identify any terms with which you are unfamiliar.
‰ Consider what technologies are used in CNN broadcasts.
BIRTH OF CNN: Take a trip back through the evolution of journalism, from cave
paintings to the Gutenberg Printing Press to the birth of CNN.
‰ As you walk through the hallway to the studio overlook, note the timeline on the
evolution of journalism. Consider how each advance in technology and know-how
impacted how people at the time learned about their world.
‰ When did Ted Turner launch CNN? Why do you think that this announcement was
considered so groundbreaking at the time?
STUDIO OVERLOOK: Modern studios provide the setting for much of CNN’s
acclaimed programming. Learn about the planning and construction of the studios and all
of the technical equipment and components used to broadcast news each day.
‰ Based on what you see in the time-lapsed video, what goes into putting together a
production such as Lou Dobbs Tonight?
‰ Look at the timeline along the wall. What are some of the events that CNN has
covered since its 1980 launch? How might CNN’s coverage have impacted an event
or the course of the event?
TELEPROMPTER/CHROMA-KEY: Advances in computer technology have become a
vital tool for the modern news network. Go behind the scenes to learn about the
technologies that newsroom personnel use in their productions. Then, have the chance to
get in front of the camera for a real-world interactive experience.
‰ What is a TelePrompTer? Who uses it? How does it work?
‰ What is the Chroma-key? Who uses it? How does it work?
CONTROL ROOM: Welcome to the heart of CNN and a story’s last point of contact
before it is broadcast to viewers around the world. See the people who assemble the
broadcasts, and learn how they piece the elements of a story into a cohesive news
‰ As you look at the control room, note some of the technologies and the people who
use them.
‰ What is the control room? Why do you think that it is referred to as the “heart of
CNN” or the “nerve center”?
Who are some of the people on the control room team? What does each one do? What
skills and background knowledge do you think are necessary for these jobs?
STUDIO FLOOR: Get a detailed behind-the-scenes look at one of CNN’s studios and a
glance at the equipment and sets needed to produce a top-quality program. (Note: Studio
accessibility is subject to availability.)
‰ If you have the opportunity to enter one of the studios, examine the room from floor
to ceiling. How does the architecture of the building accommodate for noise control,
lighting, and decreased vibration?
‰ What are some of the CNN shows that are produced out of the New York bureau?
TERMINAL GEAR: Get hardwired into the CNN system and uplink to the world.
Information from around the globe circulates 24/7 through CNN.
‰ What questions come to mind when you look at all of the computers and wires in this
part of the building?
‰ What is a server?
‰ Based on what you see on the map of the world, how many bureaus does CNN
currently have? How many satellites service CNN’s bureaus?
NEWSROOM FLOOR: Learn about the various functions of newsroom personnel and
see a video giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the newsroom in action during
breaking news.
‰ What stages does a story go through before it is put on air or online? How do you
think that the two processes might compare?
‰ After you have seen the video, how would you describe the CNN newsroom floor
during a breaking news event?
EVENTS HALLWAY: Watch highlights of CNN’s coverage of events throughout the
years since the network’s debut on June 1, 1980.
‰ What are some of the events that CNN has covered since its birth in 1980?
‰ What images, if any, do you remember from these events?
‰ What impact do you think that CNN has had on the recording of recent history and on
the course of those historical events?
‰ Why do you think that journalism is often referred to as the “first rough draft of
CONCLUSION THEATER: Do you have what it takes to be a CNN news anchor? Learn
from current CNN anchors and reporters about the many memories, challenges and
requirements associated with the job.
‰ What are some of the reasons why the CNN anchors in the video became journalists?
‰ What do you think might be some of the rewards and challenges of being a journalist
in the 21st century?