Leona Lansing, portrayed by Jane Fonda, is a character (CEO of a media conglomerate) not unlike Ted Turner, Fonda's third husband, from 1991-2001. In the first episode in which Fonda's character appears, other characters have a conversation comparing the "Tea Party," circa 2010s, and "leftist radicals," circa 1960s, and one of the names mentioned as one of the leftist radicals is "Hayden," a reference to Tom Hayden, Fonda's second husband, from 1973-1989.
In The Newsroom (2012)'s fictional "universe," which Aaron Sorkin has created, ACN stands for Atlantis Cable Network. There is a real life ACN in Canada which provides Internet and telephone services, and there was an ACN cable network in the USA at one time. It was "America's Collectibles Network" and sold everything from knives and watches to cosmetics and jewelry. In 2002, "America's Collectible Network" changed its name to Jewelry Television. Seen in approximately 80 million homes, they still use the ACN name legally and on signage at their broadcast location in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.
Sloan Sabbith, played by actress Olivia Munn, is fluent in Japanese. Munn is actually fluent in Japanese, as she spent her childhood living in Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan, and graduated college with a minor in Japanese.