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Essence Communications to Partner with CNN, HLN and For Weekly News Segments


CNN, HLN, and Essence Communications, Inc., today announced a partnership to develop What Matters, a series of weekly news segments focused on issues of importance to the African-American community. As an extension of the regular news items and features in ESSENCE magazine, as well as the ongoing multicultural programming on CNN, the on-air and online segments will be hosted on CNN by Tony Harris and Don Lemon with contributions from Roland Martin, Fredricka Whitfield and T.J. Holmes. The segments will be hosted on HLN by anchor Richelle Carey.

The recurring segment debuted on CNN on Friday, May 8, in the 12 p.m. hour and will feature topics ranging from 401(k) strategies to elder-care issues to pop culture. On HLN, the segment will be seen during the 6 p.m. hour on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday editions of “Prime News.” Inspired by the monthly “Our News”section of ESSENCE magazine, content for the segments will be developed collaboratively.

Online users also can view the “What Matters” segments on-demand at and on Mondays via Live, the Internet’s only live multi-stream video news service. This online content will be available beginning May 15. In addition, will offer users related articles, additional commentary, blog discussions and the opportunity to view the “What Matters” segments.

“ESSENCE is proud to partner with CNN, HLN and to launch What Matters as a platform to inform, educate and define the cultural discussion,”said Angela Burt-Murray, Editor-in-Chief, ESSENCE. “Last year’s collaboration on the ESSENCE/CNN co-production CNN & Essence: Reclaiming the Dream laid the groundwork for What Matters – a project that will combine our reach and expertise to further the development of quality programming for African-Americans.”

“Our partnership with ESSENCE has been a very productive one, and What Matters is an important next step in those collaborative efforts,”commented Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. "The power of our two brands promises to continue to enhance the dialogue about issues important to our collective audiences.”

What Matters is sponsored by McDonald’s, who is also the presenting sponsor of CNN’s Black in America 2, the sequel series to 2008’s groundbreaking initiative. Reported by CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, Black in America 2 reveals the stories of community leaders and innovative pioneers who are creating solutions to challenges within African-American communities – closing achievement gaps in education, reducing health disparities, and launching business enterprises. The two primetime documentaries for the series premiere on Wednesday, July 22, and Thursday, July 23. The 2009 co-production with Essence Communications, CNN & Essence: Reclaiming the Dream 2, will be filmed on July 4 at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.


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