CNN Preparing for War Coverage

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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.

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