Networks under Attack.
The news divisions of the Big Three networks were immediately on the defensive as the 1980s began: in June 1980 maverick communications entrepreneur Ted Turner launched his Cable News Network, a twenty-four-hour news channel that posed the first real challenge ever to the major networks' near monopoly on broadcast journalism. Over the next several years CNN scored a number of successes against its larger rivals, for example suing successfully in 1981 for the right to use White House press pool footage that had previously been the exclusive property of the three networks. CNN used young, nonunion employees and small domestic and foreign bureaus to save costs, and it established agreements with local television stations for the rights to use their footage of breaking stories. All of these factors shook an industry that had become complacent in many ways.
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