The use of the "n" word is a source of debate in the black community. Some see it as a way to reclaim the word and use it as a term of solidarity. Others see it as belonging to the shame based history of American slavery.
In the clip below, Richard Pryor describes why he chose to never use the term again in his stand up comedy delivery. He had previously freely used the"n" word but after visiting Africa, he had a conversion of sorts and opted to excise it from his vocabulary.
Personally, I think the term should not be used and I think the CNN correspondent who used it, even though she was reporting on a news item, was wrong to do so. Social taboos can have a useful purpose and language has power. I don't doubt that certain terms can be reclaimed by an oppressed minority and be transformed (e.g. queer). But some terms have such heavy baggage associated with them that it is better they disappear. Pryor does an excellent job explaining it below.