Pitching Hard News with CNN Anchor Renay San Miguel

If you've ever wondered how CNN decides what to cover, this exclusive interview as all about the process of how they choose which stories to cover, and the differences between television and print news coverage.

With more than 26 years of journalism experience to draw from, Renay San Miguel is a Headline News Anchor based in CNN's headquarters in Atlanta.

During the war in Iraq, San Miguel helped staff the CNN/U.S. military desk. In that role, he interviewed CNN military analysts and outlined military operations using maps and satellite imagery. 

Before he joined Headline News, San Miguel served as a reporter covering technology and the high tech business industry at CBS News and CBS Marketwatch.

He has received a number of awards for his work including a Heartland Emmy Award, a University of Maryland Casey Award, and the Cybersecurity Journalism Award of Merit from Carnegie Mellon University and the Newseum.


6:35 – Renay San Miguel reveals how CNN decides what stories to cover. San Miguel also notes that the news he will cover “…has to be compelling, it has to…lend itself to good story telling.”

7:54 – San Miguel talks about the differences between covering a story through television and covering it through print.

10:11 – San Miguel on the best ways to cover technology related news.

11:52 – San Miguel talks about how he decides what to cover: “…I read like a ton of online newspapers and blogs, and things of that nature…things about my business…the usual suspects, The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Wall Street Journal…lostremote.com, I check out Jarvis's website buzzmachine…and all the tech headlines for all the major newspapers that have a website.”

14:29 – San Miguel mentions how many emails he receives from PR people daily, and how blogging and podcasting has helped his career as a journalist: “I think that a journalist really needs to not be intimidated by these things [new technology], and not fear the blog but embrace it, and not fear the podcast…but really try to make it your own…”

16:53 – San Miguel on choosing a media channel for stories: “…if somebody would be pitching me a particular story for a podcast versus for television my suggestion is think about the podcast first…the podcast goes on CNN.com which has a wide reach, a lot of eyeballs hit the website everyday.”

19:45 – San Miguel talks about why technology coverage appeals to him.

23:45 – San Miguel describes the change of his use of technology as a journalist since 1997 as, “…a 180 degree change.”

24:15 – San Miguel on whether the use of a corporate website is sufficient to gather information for a news story.

26:02 – San Miguel explains how his user experience of a company's website affects his perceptions of that company, and what the key elements are to creating a great corporate website.

28:29 – San Miguel reveals why Microsoft's Bill Gates was upset during his interview at the Computer Electronics Show.

30:14 – San Miguel on how the growth of media training poses a challenge to journalists: “Folks like Steve Jobs, there's absolutely no way you are going to get him off message…” 34:58 – San Miguel talks about how the 24 hour cable news industry can compete in a world where there is no geographic exclusivity.

39:07 – End

Photo by Randy Stewart, blog.stewtopia.com.

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