That’s where I am right now finding out about Kelli.
Put aside the fact there is no better-connected Justice Correspondent on the planet and you can kiss your early access to important national security news goodbye, no woman knows the ins and outs of CNN and the business of TV news like Kelli Arena. And while most correspondents would take this seniority and squirrel it away for personal gain, Kelli made a point of mentoring young reporters and producers she felt were truly committed. She had no patience for the fluffy talking heads or the chippies who just wanted to see themselves on TV. However, if you proved yourself worthy of her attention, she gave you everything she had.
It’s just one of the zillion reasons I adore her.
Professionally, there’s no replacement they could put in that Justice/National Security role that will give you, the viewer, the information you’re looking for. It takes years to build the sources Kelli brought to the table. Just like Jamie got you the scoop from the Pentagon and Miles had the contacts at NASA and knew science and aviation, real reporters worth their salt aren’t interchangeable little pieces. It’s sad the head of CNN thinks they are.
In case you thought Kelli was “just another CNN reporter,” take a quick look at her history with the Cable News Network. From her bio – which I am sure they will waste no time taking offline (click to see bigger):
Besides being a professional powerhouse, Kelli has also been an incredible friend to me both during and since CNN, and assuming it wasn’t her choice to bolt right before Christmas, Klein – once again – made a huge, huge mistake.