MH370: CNN’s ‘Obsession’ with MH370 Coverage Explained

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By Athena Yenko | May 12, 2014 4:12 PM EST

U.S. President Barrack Obama sung the same tune with Veteran U.S. TV host and ex-CNN host Larry King in criticism over CNN 'absurd' obsession over MH370 coverage.

"I am happy to be here even though I am a little jetlagged from my trip to Malaysia - the lengths we have to go to to get CNN coverage these days. I think they're still searching for their table," Mr Obama told press at the annual White House Correspondents' dinner, Mirror.uk reports.

On May 8, King described CNN's coverage of the missing plane as "absurd."

"I am glad I am not on CNN now with this missing plane. Because that has been turned into the most absurd news story. It was a great news story and then it went absurd. The funny thing about it is that in all this time the only thing we know is that it made a left turn. We don't know anything else, so I have learned nothing, and all that coverage has led to nothing."

 "While it gave them better ratings, they weren't doing what I consider great news work, which is letting the audience determine what is news," King added.

Apparently, it seemed that King was wrong as CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said that it was the audience who led CNN to how it is handling its reporting of MH370.

Speaking with Mashable,  Zucker explained that data retrieved from three different analytics systems that CNN used, plus record of overnight TV ratings, led the network to dwell on MH370 the way it did - intense. The data that the system tracked showed that the missing plane's story sprang branches. The network then decided give a longer air time for MH370 coverage.

"Clearly, the audience has spoken and said that what CNN did was correct," Zucker said.

"I think that if people want to be critical of CNN for over-covering a story, that's totally fine with us."

According to chart presented by Mashable, CNN's ratings were lower in 2013 until the network reported on MH370. The significant boost in its 2014 ratings in March was attributed the news surrounding the missing Malaysian plane.

"We're looking at consumption patterns and trends across the web, mobile, social and video, and then on third-party sites, looking at that and making decisions about how we program for all platforms. You're seeing that start to come online and start to bear fruit with something like the Malaysian airline story," KC Estenson, general manager of CNN Digital, explained.

He added that CNN is now embracing data as an editorial tool.

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