CNN says that for 20 years it has been bringing you the world. As the world’s first 24-hour news network, it signed on the air in June 1980 to 1.7 million cable households in the U.S. Since then it has gone on to notch up an impressive list of more firsts. Its news services around the world now reach a billion people, and stretch across 11 TV networks, 12 Web sites, 37 bureaus and a worldwide staff of more than 4,000. It has received 14 Emmys. “It has been an unforgettable ride. We celebrate the record of accomplishment that has made us the world’s television news leader,” said CNN founder Ted Turner.
Recently in Tokyo was CNN “Hotspots” presenter Jane Dutton. With her crew she was making a program centering on Tokyo and Osaka. “Japan? I love it, love it,” she said. “I always feel very invigorated here.”
Only 34, she is a seasoned world traveler who, when she put high school behind her, didn’t know what to do. A South African from a long-established family in Johannesburg, she grew up speaking English and Afrikaans. She studied sporadically at three universities, choosing for her subjects politics, journalism, and speech and drama, but says she wasn’t ready then for university. Restless in spirit, she pulled out and decided to take off and freelance for a while.
“I fell into a journalism job, and auditioned for South African television,” she said. “They wanted someone to report, so I become a news correspondent for a year.” She enlarged her repertoire as she became a news editor, news reader and presenter of the program “Cape Talk” in Cape Town. She worked as an anchor for a Cape Town station.
Jane went to London, where at first she kept herself gong by working in a pizza restaurant and doing secretarial work. Later she found employment in movie film production. She developed her freelance work for newspapers and magazines, and for television again. “Sometimes it was studio work, sometimes outside broadcasting from a van,” she said. As she became known, she appeared on many major international television networks. She reported on travel, art, news and current affairs. She had found a niche, and proceeded to build an exciting, breathtaking career.
Jane moved to London, instead of feeling herself just “stuck there,” as she had been. For CNN she appeared frequently as a guest presenter of its program “The Art Club.” This half-hour weekend program provides authoritative and topical arts news covering current trends, auctions, museums, art fairs, thefts and gallery openings. It is presented from a different location each week.
Constantly being in motion suits Jane. She stays the pace. Currently as presenter of CNN International’s weekly “Hotspots” program, she visits holiday destinations all over the world. The program offers guidance to CNN viewers in searching out the best deals, exciting trips and unusual foods. It presents travel news, city guides and upcoming festivals and events around the globe.
In the places she visits Jane looks for uniqueness, “the things that are different from those in other countries.” In her Tokyo program, she is emphasizing contrasts “between the speed of urban life, the hectic side, and the serenity of more traditional Japanese pleasures, the tranquil side.” In Osaka she thinks she found the something different, the unusual that is usual in Japan: “the unique wedding service in hotels,” she said. “All preparations for the wedding service, gifts, the reception and the clothes are rented to the happy couple by the hotel.” She hasn’t met that completeness of facility anywhere else.
It is hard for Jane to nominate a favorite place. She can name several candidates, all as different from each other as Iceland and Jamaica and Japan. Her favorite place for herself is not the point, though. Her brief is to help find desirable destinations for her audience, whether for individual trips of a lifetime or short weekend jaunts. As well as showing local sights, she gives practical information on how to get to the places under review, and what you need to know in advance. She has won awards for her work, which she agrees is difficult to keep up at the pace at which she goes. As well as her camera presentations, Jane still writes. She has contributed feature stories to over 150 magazines worldwide.
She has the temperament, the appearance and the skills. She has energy, joyousness and speed. “I want to continue to travel,” she said. “Travel is a lifestyle for me.”