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Visit to CNN headquarters

Daniel and I are still on California time. We were up til past 3 am! I got a good 8 hours of sleep and Daniel slept until noon. We finally got out the door for our outing of the day, visiting the CNN headquarters in downtown Atlanta.

Of course, getting there wasn’t a direct route. In fact, along the way I got lost 3 times and had to reroute my phone all three times. The Atlanta road system is quite a trick to navigate through if you don’t know your way around:

  • signs that tell you to turn right before the intersection, so you have to cut across 3 lanes of traffic because there was no notice
  • signs hidden under trees so you can’t see them
  • freeways and highways that keep splitting, so that you’re not sure where you’re going
  • exits that go off and don’t have entrances that get back on
  • streets that are one-way but don’t have a one-way sign so you only know it’s one-way because of the way the cars are parked

Note to self: get a GPS system next time I visit Atlanta.

I kept missing turns and going down wrong freeways and we ended up in a seedy part of Atlanta with abandoned buildings, graffiti, barbed wire, iron bars and homeless people on the corners. I am very thankful for my iPhone mapping system that was able to help us finally get to the building!

The CNN building is quite impressive. When you walk in, there’s a big wall all made of photos.

Then you walk into a huge atrium.

It was like being in a mall. There was a massive food court with shops around. I guess this building used to have an amusement park in it. The food court was a large ice skating rink. When Ted Turner bought the building, he had it all ripped up.

In this picture you can see the second level where the HLN network area is. We went past that area and looked down during the tour.

The building is really tall too.

It’s like high-rise buildings inside another building!

The only thing left from the original amusement part is the escalator. It’s the largest free-standing escalator in the world. Only the top and bottom ends are anchored and the rest is hanging there. The guide only tells you this after you ride to the top. I’m really glad. Neither Daniel nor I like heights, so we tried not to look down too much.

The escalator just goes up… and up… and up…

They didn’t allow photos during the tour, which was totally a bummer, because it was so cool. Daniel and I were very fascinated by it. We prefer behind the scenes tours of how things work as opposed to being out in nature. I love to see systems and processes and learn from people who do things really well. Plus, with all our allergies and outdoor problems, an opportunity like this is just perfect!

[Imagine picture of TV studio here.]

It was so interesting listening in to the director cueing all the graphics and camera shots during the broadcast. We got to see them filming the news anchor live. The production room had at least 50 computer stations for just the editors… and that was just half the room. One of the studios had theater lighting covering the entire ceiling, aimed at every direction, so they could constantly switch sets and camera angles the whole day.

I will never watch the news the same again!

Another reason this is good is because Daniel gets outside of his world and sees the different areas of careers, something he has been thinking about because he has to apply for college next year. It is a fun thing for us to explore and talk about together!

Anyway, after the tour, went downstairs. Since we couldn’t take pictures from anywhere other than the atrium, I wasn’t able to get a picture of the atrium floor, but the tiles are all set in a world map. Here is a picture of Africa from the view of Antarctica.

You can see all the tiles on the floor and how there’s no pattern to them.

This is a picture of the east coast. To the left, Florida. To the right, Cape Cod sticking out.

Brass plates are embedded where the CNN stations are (the same three dots as the ones in the picture above).

The one for Atlanta was under a chair. I had to move the chair to take a picture of it.

Their branding is everywhere. I was totally fascinated with how they integrated it into everything and every hallway had photographs, logos, posters, or other visuals communicating the history and vision of the company. Even the tables have different logos on top.

We found a Dunkin Donuts in there! The funny thing was that the donut shop is right next door the police station. Was someone trying to be funny, or was this inadvertent?

We couldn’t resist and got some donuts as a treat.

It was an awesome tour.

Coming home was not so awesome though.

  • I was supposed to take ##-North (## being the number of the freeway, which I forget at the moment).  It was a north-south freeway. But the only sign had an arrow pointing ##-East. What????
  • Needless to say, we went the wrong direction and had to turn around again. Ugh!
  • Finally we made it back to our street! Yay!
  • But then I U-turned too early (there is no left turn into the hotel so we have to do a U-turn). This meant that now I was stuck going back the way we came from… directly back onto the freeway. Boo!
  • Had to drive another two miles before getting off the freeway to turn underneath and get back on the other direction again. Sigh!

Daniel noticed that we have been lost every day. Nothing escapes that kid.

Oh, maybe because it’s obvious.

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