TV news organisations should return to old-style 'edgy' reporting with stronger eyewitness coverage or face dwindling audiences, CNN International president Chris Cramer has warned.

Speaking to the Royal Television Society (RTS) last

TV news organisations should return to old-style 'edgy' reporting with stronger eyewitness coverage or face dwindling audiences, CNN International president Chris Cramer has warned.

Speaking to the Royal Television Society (RTS) last Thursday (21 September), Cramer called for news organisations to increase investment in newsgathering, by opening more overseas bureaux and nurturing more 'inquisitive' reporters on the ground.

He named figures such as John Simpson and Mark Austin as examples. 'We should get back to the edginess - particularly in newsgathering,' he told the 200-strong after-dinner audience in London.

Cramer warned that the trend to launch rolling news services meant editors faced a 'huge impulse to put less people on stories' with a danger of formulaic journalism. News organisations also need to foster correspondents with 'a sense of wonder' and return to traditional skills, particularly in newsgathering, he added.

He admitted that CNN was 'being squeezed in the US' as more people turned to websites for information, while adding that ratings 'had been the death of TV news'.

Pointing to the latest management consolidation at CNN, which saw Cramer promoted to CNN International president, he said large networks can lose their 'roots'. He took a swipe at reality TV programmes, such as Endemol Entertainment's Big Brother, saying that broadcasters should not be tempted by their 'ratings allure'.

Mocking the move to bring back ITN's News at Ten, he said the debacle has been greeted with incredulity outside the UK, and was like explaining cricket to his US bosses.

UK terrestrials were 'bulletin obsessed', Cramer said and went on to attack the debate about ITV 'dumbing down' by moving its flagship 22.00 news show. 'If you want to see dumbing down come back on the plane with me,' he said.

- During the evening, outgoing RTS president Sir Jeremy Isaacs presented RTS fellowships to newly named BBC 1 controller Lorraine Heggessey, David Mannion, who is a director of factual content consultancy DMA Media, and BBC drama chief Jane Tranter.