It’s the end of an era. CNN is terminating its partnership with GW – one that presumably attracted hordes of students to the University. Following the loss of this valuable recruiting tool, administrators must wisely choose a new partner to make use of the Jack Morton Auditorium.
Part of the allure of the terminated partnership was CNN’s big name. Perhaps equally as important, however, was the quality of the programming being broadcast.
The glory days of “Crossfire,” the popular political debate show that ended almost two years go, brought students and members of the community to campus for a regular taping and provided excellent volunteer opportunities. The previous two CNN shows at Jack Morton, “On the Story” and “Reliable Sources,” were taped on Friday nights, an unpopular time for students, and lacked the edgy and dynamic format of “Crossfire.”
GW must take steps to establish a new partnership with a major network because of the large boon to University recruiting and visibility. In considering potential partners, however, administrators must consider the quality, popularity and stability of potential programming. A big name without a show worthy of the Jack Morton auditorium would not be worth the University’s time.
Furthermore, the University should broaden the scope of potential partners. Networks such as the Discovery Channel or the National Geographic Channel could prove as valuable assets as CNN, MSNBC or Fox News. Any partnership should also allow for GW to use the Jack Morton Auditorium at off times with local broadcast networks.
In any case, the space in the School of Media and Public Affairs building should not go to waste. Administrators must be choosy, however, in selecting new programming that will benefit students and the school.