Grant Praises CNN's Local TV Affiliates

Thanks early affiliates at RTNDF awards ginner Thursday night

TV and radio stations had an integral part in making CNN what it is today.

That was the word from Susan Grant, executive VP of CNN News Services, who called CNN's local TV station affiliates "the best and most extensive group of local news stations in the country."

She gave a shout out to the anchor stations that initially signed on to CNN founder Ted Turner and then-CNN President Burt Reinhart's idea of an informal news exchange, which eventually became its 250-station affiliate service, CNN Newsource. "Who knew why a local station back then would take the chance to work with a fledgling cable news network."

Grant received the First Amendment Service Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation at a dinner in Washington Thursday night.

But she wasn't done with praise for local TV station journalism. "While CNN is no stranger to good journalism," she said, "I am equally impressed by the talent, dedication and focus of our affiliates on TV, radio and online [which now total over 850 station partners]. "What we have accomplished at CNN simply would not have been possible without those most extraordinary partnerships."

Grant said she had sat in the audience for many of the same RTNDF dinners, marveling at the accomplishments of the honorees, saying that when she got the word that she would be one of them, "I was sure that the board had run out of deserving journalists."

Jack Womack, senior VP of news for CNN/U.S., presented the award, praising her public service from serving food in a soup kitchen to riding in a police car to learning about her community, saying that she was also a friend and "the call" in a crisis.