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CNN Preparing for War Coverage

Hollywood -- Cable News Network is hoping to embed its journalists within
the troops on the front lines should the United States go to war with Iraq.

CNN News Group chairman and CEO Walter Issacson -- speaking during a Turner
Broadcasting System Inc. presentation at the Television Critics Association tour
here -- said the organization is currently negotiating with U.S. military
officials to place journalists within U.S. troop platoons in an effort to get a
more accurate account of the potential war with Iraq.

'I think it's very bad that journalists have not been allowed to cover some
of the military actions of the past decade,' Issacson said.

CNN newsgathering
president Eason Jordan admitted that journalists would face 'grave danger' if they are allowed
in the war region, adding that seven CNN staffers have
lost their lives in previous war zones.

But he added that nearly 500 CNN journalists have gone through a weeklong
war-zone-training program, while others have gone through biological-weapons
training.

The network has also committed to spend 'several hundred-thousand dollars on
high-tech equipment that hasn't been utilized in previous wars.'

Issacson's and Jordan's comments came on the heels of their co-authored op-ed
piece in the Jan. 6 edition of The Wall Street Journal advocating greater
access in covering the war.

On the network-news-merger front, Issacson wouldn't rule out the possibility
of the much-rumored ABC News/CNN merger eventually coming to fruition, although
he said nothing is imminent. He believes, though, that the deal could work for
both parties.

'I think it's a good idea and I think it could work,' he
said.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.