Newscaster pitches election coverage to advertisers

Ramping up for the 2004 presidential election, CNN touted its anchors and political veterans before Madison Avenue on Thursday and announced that Judy Woodruff’s “Inside Politics” will expand to an hour.

Beginning Nov. 3 — a year before Election Day — “Inside” will air at 3:30 p.m. ET. Half-hour show now airs at 4. Switch won’t bump anybody since Woodruff now anchors a regular news hour from 3-4.

The breakfast gathering for media buyers and advertisers included a mock-up of the cable news net’s political shout-fest “Crossfire” and, later, a panel hosted by CNN talkshow host Larry King on the election. Panelists included CNN anchors Lou Dobbs, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn and Woodruff as well as political correspondents Bill Schneider, Jeff Greenfield and Candy Crowley. Former Pentagon spokeswoman Tori Clarke, who recently joined CNN as a commentator, also participated.

CNN prexy Jim Walton told reporters after the event that it’s important to promote the net’s blue-chip brand. He also declared that not every rating point is created equal, meaning CNN is still a desirable product, even if it is losing to Fox News Channel in the ratings.

Accompanying Walton to New York was CNN’s new U.S. programming topper, Princell Hair.

Elsewhere on the political landscape, CBS News’ online operation announced Thursday that it has entered into a partnership with the New Republic and the Weekly Standard whereby stories from the mags will appear on CBSNews.com.

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