CNN Entertainment Site Sounds A Lot Like TMZ

Maybe I’m misreading CNN’s announcement about its new entertainment section online, but reading it made me throw up a little bit in my mouth.

Among other things, the site will feature a steady diet of celebrity dreck, including “’Click,’ featuring the latest paparazzi photos, updated throughout the day and archived in a weekly gallery updated photos “

Stay classy, CNN — and besides, why let Harvey Levin and TMZ have all the fun?

Just to be fair, here’s the rest of the announcement, though I don’t think it makes them look any better. Time Warner recently broke out the various sources of CNN revenue in a pie chart, mostly to draw attention away from the channel’s weak performance in the primetime ratings. But all this latest exercise does is remind us that the network — despite its high-minded rhetoric about being the last cable news bastion devoted to unbiased, non-partisan journalism — has few qualms when it comes to stooping to conquer. 

CNN.com’s New Entertainment Section Premieres with Dramatic Design, Interactive Features

New Section Uses Social Media and iReporters to Showcase Latest in Pop Culture

CNN.com has unveiled its new Entertainment Section, showcasing the latest in entertainment headlines, the hottest celebrity photos, interviews with the biggest stars, and live video from the industry’s most anticipated events, as well as beat coverage of TV, movies and music.

“Entertainment is one of those topics that a large cross-section of our audience loves to follow, and we want to give them up-to-the-minute reporting about all of their favorite celebrities,” said Katie Caperton, CNN.com’s Entertainment editor.  “In addition to CNN’s reporting, we hear a lot of buzz from our CNN.com users, especially our iReporters’ burning questions about movies, the stars and the latest headlines. CNN is in a unique position to take those questions directly to celebrities on the red carpet, giving our audience a voice in our reporting.”

Led by former OK! Magazine editor Katie Caperton, the site’s new Entertainment Section draws on the full strength of CNN’s global entertainment reporting resources –including CNN.com’s entertainment reporting team, the CNN Entertainment Unit, HLN’s daily entertainment news show “Showbiz Tonight,” CNN’s Los Angeles and New York bureaus and journalists in the field. CNN.com also has partnered with InStyle, People and EW magazines to incorporate more of their sweeping coverage right within the site’s Entertainment Section. 

“By combining all of our entertainment newsgathering forces across CNN, CNN.com and HLN, CNN.com is giving everyone unprecedented access to the latest and most talked about celebrity news,” said Dave Levine, senior executive producer of the CNN Entertainment Unit and HLN’s Showbiz Tonight.

Utilizing a premium design and innovative features incorporating user-generated content and social media activity, the section offers all of the best entertainment stories, play-in-page video and photos as well as direct accessto its newly stylized blog, The Marquee Blog. Some of the new features include:

  • Breaking stories and video spotlighted, along with user comments from CNN.com and Facebook.

  • “Click,” featuring the latest paparazzi photos, updated throughout the day and archived in a weekly gallery

  • “Quote Board,” highlighting the week’s most-controversial and interesting things said about and by celebrities

  • “Photos & Videos,” showcasing the best multimedia from special industry events like the Cannes Film Festival

  • “iReport All Access,” powered by CNN’s user-generated community, iReport, users can submit questions for celebrity interviews, as well as watch celebrities answer select questions from iReporters

The Entertainment Section will also introduce a new feature called “Trending Now,” revolutionizing how news and information is visualized and prioritized. The story selection in “Trending Now” will be user-driven and constantly updated according to the related user activity in CNN.com’s comments, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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