CNN Gets 5 of Cox’s Iraq Slots

By: Joe Strupp

Cox Newspapers Inc. and CNN have struck a deal that allows the cable network to use five of Cox’s eight military embedding slots for reporters in Iraq in exchange for newspaper content from CNN correspondents, a CNN spokesman said Monday.

The arrangement, which E&P first reported was being negotiated on Friday, became final over the weekend, according to CNN spokesman Matthew Furman. He said the deal came about after CNN officials approached Cox’s flagship paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution upon hearing that Cox might not use all of the slots it received. “This allows them to fill the slots and it is an advantage to us,” Furman said.

Susan Stevenson, AJC deputy managing editor, said the deal was a way for the paper to save resources, but still cover the fighting. “The slots remain ours,” she said. “These folks will file for us as freelancers, essentially.” Stevenson added that the paper wanted to keep more people in the United States to be ready for possible coverage of terrorism at home.

The Pentagon, which has given out more than 500 reporter slots to print and broadcast news organizations, is embedding journalists with units from all four branches of the U.S. military heading to Iraq. The number of slots for each organization is based on different criteria, ranging from its scope of coverage to its audience reach, military officials said.

Cox Newspapers Washington bureau received five slots, according to editors, while the AJC received an additional three.

Under the agreement, which includes no monetary exchange, CNN will use five of the eight slots assigned to Cox and the AJC, with the provision that CNN reporters write print stories for Cox to use, Furman said. “All of the people we will use to fill those slots will have print backgrounds,” he added, declining to say which CNN reporters would get the assignments. “All of our reporters already file for CNN.com so this will not be that different.”

Furman, who declined to say how many embedded slots CNN had received on its own from the Pentagon, said the CNN stories filed to Cox would be original stories, not simply copies of CNN.com articles.

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