CNN picks strategic locations for foreign news boost

CNN’s largest-ever investment in newsgathering is an attempt to establish a permanent presence in countries of ‘huge significance editorially”, according to its European head.

Nick Wrenn, CNN International’s managing editor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the move, which includes creating a permanent presence in Afghanistan, was also about taking up strategic positions to act as routes to important stories.

Wrenn said: ‘There’s good logic and reason gone into choosing each and every one of the regions, and they all tend to be slightly different. For example, Turkey is becoming a more important story for us as it grows economically and in terms of its political and military influence.

‘It’s a good story in itself – East meets West – but it’s also a launchpad to get into other parts of the world. We can get into northern Iraq from there, and some of the south-central European countries right at the front of pipeline politics. It’s just a good strategic place to be.”

The project, announced last week, believed to be worth around £5m, will include the creation of a regional newsgathering hub in the United Arab Emirates and a presence in Afghanistan, Belgium, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland and Vietnam.

CNN stopped using Reuters news service last August, but Wrenn said the move was a more long-term proposition. And despite announcing details of the move in the week of Al Jazeera English’s first anniversary, Wrenn denied that the presence of a rival had influenced CNN’s plans.

The expansion project will mean a total of 50 new jobs, including 16 new correspondent posts worldwide.

A digital production unit, feeding CNN’s new platforms, will be housed in the broadcaster’s London offices.

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