DECA Students visit CNN in Atlanta

From the perspective of a participant

May 2, 2018

Tuesday, April 24th Renton High School’s DECA students had the opportunity to visit CNN Studios and have a “Behind the Scenes,” tour—during the International Career Development Conference for marketing students in Atlanta, Georgia. I was lucky enough to be one of the students attending; I had the chance to view the CNN workspace, and learn the story behind news we so often see on TV. Upon arrival the RHS DECA chapter, took pictures as anchors in front of a green screen, both serious and silly. They later had the chance to purchase the pictures from the gift shop, as a memory from the studio.

After the greetings—we met the guide who lead us into a small theater where we could view multiple control screens that editors were changing, and deciding on frames to go with the news. After viewing the screens—we were led to a small studio where our guide showed us the main camera and appliances used in streaming anchors as well as weather-coverage. He showed us the teleprompter and explained how its engineering allows for the anchors to seem like they are looking straight into the camera; when they are actually reading off a script. After that he showed us the green screen, and explained why the backgrounds were always made blue and green; as it didn’t wash out the weather-people because the colors weren’t worn often.

We were all curious to see the work space, to know where “the magic” takes place. Our imagination became reality as we were led to a bunch of windows surrounding the writing and editing space—it was massive. It was anything but the journalism classroom I picture when thinking about news. It was pretty cool to see people collaborating and working towards one thing. We also saw multiple screens where written stories were being displayed, and edited.

It was a great example of an open learning space. The first “24-hour news,” channel was living up to our expectations! On the tour there were so many opportunities to ask questions and divulge into the world of CNN— “world’s largest news organization.” Throughout the tour, fellow visitors took that opportunity, by questioning CNN’s Breaking News and the writing process. The guide had very relatable answers and an agreeable personality as he explained what Breaking News meant to employees at CNN in modern-day terms. He explained the way they look at breaking news, to be basically any story or event that breaks the schedule for writing that week or day.

Even as we walked to our next destination, our tour guide did a wonderful job showing us around and explaining the history of the company. While walking around, he told us about the founder Ted Turner, and his original ideas for the company. Ted Turner’s ideas were to broaden the scope of news being consumed in every household—he wanted to make sure the American people were aware of the things happening in their communities and world.

 June 1, 1980

“To act upon one’s convictions while others wait—to create a positive force in a world where cynics are bound. To provide information to people, when it wasn’t available before—to offer those who want it a choice. For the American people, whose thirst for understanding and a better life has made this venture possible…”


                          – Poem by Ed Kessler, read by Ted Turner during the launch of CNN


At the end of the tour we got to visit the CNN and Cartoon Network gift shop, and eat at the giant food court. Overall the experience was one of a kind, and unlike any other as we had the unique chance to view the company up close, and question what we know. Being in DECA, and having this ability to travel, and visit places I’d never have imagined seeing in real live—is unreal. I encourage students to get out of their comfort zone and join that club you never thought you would.

You never know where it will take you.





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