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In the Newsroom

FCC Approves Sale of WJLA, News Channel 8 to Sinclair Broadcast Group

sinclair_allbrittonThe FCC yesterday approved the sale of Allbritton Communications, owner of WJLA and News Channel 8, to Sinclair Broadcast Group. The deal was announced in July 2013 pending FCC approval for $985 million.

According to TVSpy, with the acquisition, ”Sinclair owns, operates, programs or provides sales service to 162 stations in 78 markets. Sinclair stations now reach nearly 40 percent of US television households.”

POLITICO publisher Robert Allbritton, who’s family owned Allbritton Communications for nearly four decades, tweeted:

In an interview for POLITICO, he touted the successes of POLITICO - not WJLA or News Channel 8 - and supported the future of Internet-based communications. Read more

AP Makes Changes Within Its Video Leadership

Vaughn Morrison

Vaughn Morrison

Denise Vance

Denise Vance

The Associated Press today announced several changes within its video leadership. Denise Vance, deputy director of U.S. video, will be head of U.S. video and radio, and Vaughn Morrison, a former CNN and Fox executive, was named earlier this month head of U.S. video production. Both are based in DC.

The announcement also named Derl McCrudden, previously head of video newsgathering, head of international video news for The Associated Press. He is based in London.

Debora Gorbutt, head of video content development, will now have a hand in the AP Middle East Extra, a new video service offering video content centered on news most relevant to the region.

For the full announcement, click here.

Atlantic Media’s ‘Defense One’ Plans to Double Editorial and Business Staff

PrintDefense One today announced that it plans to more than double its number of dedicated staff with the addition of 11 new full-time editorial and business employees. The announcement comes days after the Atlantic vertical celebrated it’s one-year anniversary, in which it already doubled its staff from three to six and experienced record monthly traffic of 800,000 page views and nearly 600,000 unique visitors during its first year.

As part of the expansion, executive editor Kevin Baron plans to hire three new beat reporters as well as two regular contributors. The U.S. defense and national security-focused brand will also add a general manager, associate publisher and events director along with dedicated sales and marketing persons.

“We’ve seen in the last year a tremendous appetite for the kind of journalism, ideas commentary, and events that has become the hallmark of the Defense One brand,” said Baron. “We did what we came to do in year one, and now this investment will enable us to expand our reporting on the national security community.”

Tim Hartman, CEO of National Journal Group that oversees Defense One, will lead the effort.

CNN’s Jake Tapper Speaks to WSJ Reporter in Gaza on Strike that Left 4 Children Dead

On this afternoon’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” the CNN host spoke over the phone with The Wall Street Journal’s Middle East correspondent Nick Casey for what proved to be a very intense interview.

Casey was located near where a recent strike took place in Gaza that left several dead, including four children.

“Their names were Ismail, Mohammed, Zw-Karia, and Ahed,” Tapper said during the program. “They were 8 years old, 10, 10, and 11. One moment they were playing soccer on a beach. The next, they were dead. Forget for a moment what you think of Hamas or the Netanyahu government. Forget the questions you have about the tactics or the prospects of peace. Just think for one second about four little boys going to the beach to play soccer and being killed. Killed by the Israeli Military…And while you’re thinking of these Palestinian boys, maybe also take a moment to think about the Israeli children killed by Palestinian terrorists in this conflict. Say for instance, the kidnapped three teenage boys, one of them with American citizenship. Is there room in your heart for all seven of these boys, Jewish and Palestinian alike?”

See Tapper’s interview with Casey, below.

NPR’s Margaret Low Smith Named President of AtlanticLIVE

md2qtgdoloqe8n04c95kNPR’s Margaret Low Smith was named VP of The Atlantic and president of AtlanticLIVE, its events division. In this role, she’ll oversee all aspects of AtlanticLIVE and lead Steve Clemons, Washington editor-at-large of The Atlantic and head of LIVE content, and Emily Akhtarzandi, the LIVE sales team’s managing director of business development. Smith replaces Elizabeth Baker Keffer, founding president of AtlanticLIVE, who left for the Chicago-based investment firm BDT & Company in February 2014.

For NPR, Smith ran a division of nearly 400 journalists as its senior vice president for news since early 2011. Read more

Hearst Television’s Hallie Jackson to Join NBC News as Network Correspondent

HallieJacksonAn internal note from NBC News SVP of worldwide newsgathering David Verdi announced that Hearst Television’s Hallie Jackson will join the network as a correspondent. Jackson covered political and national events in Washington, D.C. for 26 Hearst affiliates since 2012.

Verdi highlighted her ability to work in digitally-integrated environments across platforms in his memo to staff, after the jump.

Read more

Sarah Gilbert Set to Rejoin NPR’s ‘Weekend Edition’

Sarah GilbertNPR’s “Weekend Edition” announced a new hire this morning. Sarah Gilbert will rejoin the show as supervising senior editor, which she originally joined in 2012 before leaving for ”Marketplace” in 2013.

Side note: With Gilbert’s return, “Weekend Edition’s” staff now consists of three Sarah’s, including Supervising Senior Producer Sarah Oliver and Producer Sarah Handel.

Shawna Thomas to Join NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ as Senior Editor

Shawna Thomas

Shawna Thomas

As of July 16, Shawna Thomas will join Meet the Press as senior editor responsible for leading its digital strategy. Thomas joins “Meet” having been with the network since 2006, serving as White House producer and Capitol Hill producer as well as a news associate, political assignment editor, and digital associate producer.

Also out of NBC News today, Erika Masonhall has been promoted to Vice President of Communications.

See Executive Producer Rob Yarin‘s internal note on Thomas’ announcement after the jump. Read more

Atlantic Media Launches ‘State & Local’

GovExec_S&LAtlantic Media today launched its expansion from federal government current events coverage for Government Executive to city, county, and state government news and analysis. The new line of focus will include coverage of technology, health care, citizen services, infrastructure, security, transportation, and finance.

Government Executive’s state and local coverage is led by Michael Grass, who was hired in May following an April announcement of the intended news coverage expansion.

“As I’ve been talking with local government practitioners across the country, so many are innovating and serving their residents in new and exciting ways,” said Grass. “Government Executive State & Local will amplify these success stories.” Read more

HuffPost Reporter Recognizes Voice, Can’t Place It When He Calls WH Press Shop

Zach WahlsWashington bureau chief of The Huffington Post Ryan Grim this week called the White House press shop, and was answered by a voice he recognized but couldn’t place.

Re-meet Zach Wahls, who rose to internet fame in 2011 when he spoke about his family life and growing up with two mothers at an Iowa state legislature forum on the topic of marriage-equality.

In 2012, Wahls travelled to Charlotte, NC, where he spoke at the Democratic National Convention and went on to write My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family.

Click on over to The Huffington Post for the full story on Grim’s phone-encounter with Wahls.

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