You started out reporting from the field. Was it hard to adjust to being an anchor?
Anchoring is a lot more compelling than I thought it was going to be; it's a different kind of challenge every day. It's like running along the edge of a cliff, or running on a sand dune that's collapsing underneath you as you go. It's easy to fall off, to make mistakes, but if you can keep moving forward, it's invigorating.
Do you think part of your job is to appeal to younger viewers?
I've never been in a meeting where people said to bring in younger people. i think the notion of telling stories differently to appeal to younger people is a mistake. Young people want the same kind of thing older viewers do: interesting, well-told, compelling stories. If you're somehow altering what you're doing because you want to get young viewers, that's a little bit like when your parents go out to buy "cool" clothes for you.
So you see a new, or resurgent, interest in harder news?
Hard news and news features. We're showcasing what makes us unique: our incredible credibility and our reputation for being the best reporters in the world in terms of global news gathering. People can be assured now, 25 years on, that CNN is still the place to turn to for big stories. That's great for people like me, and it's great for viewers.
Why the change?
It's cyclical. We started with hard news, and then there was a period when people didn't think hard news sold well, but then they figured out it did. Partly because of what's going on in the world, but also because they're coming to understand that great stories are what make journalism compelling.
One of the most important things right now, especially in our post-9/11 world, is good, credible, vigorous foreign reporting. More than any other time in my generation, America and every other country need to know what's going on at home and around the world, and nobody else out there is doing it. We have more people in the field than anyone else. We put more foreign news on the air than any other network, and that's vital to understanding the world.
Has technology changed your job?
Twenty-two years ago, we didn't even have cellphones. Technology has changed the mechanics of what we do. But in my view, it hasn't and shouldn't change the content, the guts of what we do. Technology has made it easier and quicker to get things on the air. Sometimes, however, technology can have the effect of weakening quality. You have to be careful that you only take advantage of shortcuts that allow you to take stories to viewers faster, but not shortcuts when it comes to getting the story right.
What do you consider CNN's most important legacy?
The really crucially important thing is, CNN has democratized information. It has made news available to anybody. It has contributed to civil society around the world.
The whole notion of a free and independent press has fired the imagination of many broadcasters in many parts of the world. Many other countries have copied us. From europe to the middle east to east asia, there are 24-hour news operations, and this gives their people a view of their own world they've never had before. CNN has contributed to showing the rest of the world, particularly countries that aren't free, that there are societies where information flows freely. And a free press is one of the pillars of a free society.