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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Whitaker’

Palin, Cee Lo Create Spectacle @ MSNBC After Party


While attendees at another post-WHCD party struggled to gain admittance due to their host’s chronic and unapologetic guest list failures, MSNBC’s guests breezed though check-in and down a sprawling red carpet to the Italian Embassy.  Rather than watching celebrities make their way to an isolated VIP space, MSNBC’s guests rubbed elbows with the likes of Glee’s Jayne Lynch, SNL’s Andy Samberg, Valerie Jarrett, Meghan McCain, Eliot Spitzer, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Bristol Palin with aunt Molly McCann and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL).

Perhaps the weekend’s best event, MSNBC’s soiree drew a huge array of journalists – many from competitive networks.   CNN was represented by Ed Henry and Shirley Hung Henry, Edie Emery, Peter Hamby, Mark Whitaker, Sam Feist, Roland Martin, David Bohrman, and Christa Robinson.  We spotted ABC’s Rick Klein, Jim Sciutto and Polson Kanneth, as well as CBS’s Christine Delargy.  Fox News anchor Bret Baier was there.   And so was Greta Van Susteren who made quite an entrance when she and husband John Coale appeared with Todd and Sarah Palin.  The family Palin was swarmed by cameras and party-goers only moments before Cee Lo Green took the stage to perform a short set including his hit song “F**k You.”  As Palin posed for what seemed like thousands of photos, Todd, Bristol and Molly conversed with the hoards of guests who circled their table in the room’s far corner.

“We’re still getting used to this,” Sarah’s sister Molly admitted to FishbowlDC.  “I find it kind of exciting but I’m not around it all the time,” she added.

As we turned away, we nearly bumped into WaPo‘s Ezra Klein who was doing a drive-by “Mean Girls” impression.  The liberal blogger laughed out loud and rolled his eyes as he passed by Palin-palooza.  Back on the dance floor, another former governor was getting a different kind of attention from one Kiki Ryan.  The fearless reporter’s blonde ambition must have been in overdrive on Saturday because we hear she tried to persuade Eliot Spitzer to shake his groove thing.  He kindly declined:

From @burgerinfo:
@keeekster(@Italian Em):Mr. Spitzer,would you like to dance?
Spitzer: Dancings not really my forte
@keeekster:Thats not what I hear #winning

Besides our favorite celebrity bartender and TV host Rachel Maddow who spent the evening slinging drinks, NBCers like Luke Russert, Kelly O’Donnell, Domenico Montanaro, Phil Griffin, Tanya Hayre, Ed Schultz, Dylan Ratigan, Erika Masonhall, Betsy Fischer, Savannah Guthrie and Contessa Brewer were among the guests gifted Starbucks swag, a slice of pizza and bottle of Fiji as they left the fete in the morning’s wee hours.

Leist Named NBC Senate Producer

The domino effect on promotions at NBC’s Washington bureau continues today as Libby Leist is named Senate Producer for the network.  Leist, a 10-year NBC vet and Senior Producer of “The Daily Rundown” will fill the void left by Ken Strickland who was recently promoted to Deputy Bureau Chief when Antoine Sanfuentes replaced Mark Whitaker as Washington Bureau Chief.  Whitaker, as you might remember, left NBC News to take a gig as Managing Editor for CNN Worldwide earlier this year.

Internal memo announcing Leist’s promotion after the jump.

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FishbowlDC Interview: NBC’s Antoine Sanfuentes

It was no shocker when NBC News announced that Antoine Sanfuentes would replace Mark Whitaker as their Washington Bureau Chief.  After all, Sanfuentes was already second in command. Perhaps the most astonishing part of the press release was found in the obligatory biographical information included in all HR announcements.  Surprisingly, Antoine’s career began as an intern for the same newsroom he now leads.  In 1990 he landed a desk assistant gig and within five years made his way to the White House as a senior producer.  Now 21 years after his humble beginnings as a D.A., Sanfuentes has become one of the network’s top executives.

“Everyone respects him because he rose up through the ranks, paid his dues, and understands this bureau and this network instinctively,” explained NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. “For him to become bureau chief made perfect sense – he’s one of us.”

Guthrie describes Antoine as a leader with “razor-sharp competitive instincts” – a view shared by most everyone at the bureau.

“Antoine brings a no-nonsense, ‘make it work’ mentality to the newsroom. He is incredibly knowledgeable, clever and resourceful – the benefit of decades of experience,” said Guthrie.

But it’s more than the network’s on-air talent that feels the love for Sanfuentes.  It’s not unusual to find a D.A. hanging out in his office and he’s been known to keep in touch and offer career advice to former interns, long after they’ve completed their internships.

“Antoine is loyal, passionate and somebody who cares greatly about the future of NBC News in Washington and also the bureau’s employees – from the top talent to the midnight-shift maintenance worker,” said Luke Russert.

Besides the full, professional drum kit that resides in his office, Sanfuentes is the epitome of Washington newsman.

“Antoine’s heart is in the news business but his soul belongs to music. He’s an accomplished rock n’ roll and jazz drummer who may even show you his latest drum solo after a meeting about Capitol Hill coverage plans,” added Russert.

With such glowing endorsements, we couldn’t resist asking Antoine to do the FishbowlDC interview.  Read it after the jump.

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CNN Searches for DC Bureau Chief, Bohrman Reassigned

David Bohrman, CNN’s DC Bureau Chief and head of special events has been named senior vice president and chief innovation officer for CNN Worldwide. For the past nine years, Bohrman has served as the network’s executive producer of election coverage, and considered largely responsible for the CNN/YouTube debates, the “magic wall,” and anchoring from the convention floors.

In a memo announcing the new assignment, CNN President Jim Walton said of Bohrman: “We are giving his passion for what is new and next in emerging technology a bigger canvas. He will continue to contribute to the creation of formats and editorial approaches, but now across CNN’s multiple platforms.”

In the meantime, Managing Editor of CNN Worldwide Mark Whitaker is on the hunt for a new DC Bureau Chief as Bohrman begins his new gig on May 1st.

Sanfuentes to Replace Whitaker as NBC Washington Bureau Chief

Antoine Sanfuentes has been named Washington Bureau Chief for NBC News, effective February 7, 2011.  Currently Deputy Bureau Chief, Sanfuentes will replace Mark Whitaker who is leaving the network to move back to New York for the newly-created position of managing editor at CNN Worldwide.

“Antoine’s inclusive management style combined with his expert knowledge and experience make him the ideal leader to guide the Washington Bureau into the next phase,” said NBC News President Steve Capus. “He is a true news producer through and through, with an outstanding dedication to integrity and professionalism in the field. He started his career in our DC newsroom and knows both the team and the political beat better than anyone.”

Sanfuentes began as an intern for NBC News while attending American University.  He landed a desk assistant gig at the Washington bureau in 1990 and climbed to senior White House producer within five years.  In his new role, Antoine will report to NBC News President Steve Capus and have oversight of all bureau management, administration, editorial affairs and “Meet the Press.”

Congrats to Antoine!

NBC’s Whitaker Named Managing Editor of CNN Worldwide

NBC Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker is leaving the network for an executive role at CNN.  Whitaker, who took the reins of NBC’s Washington Bureau following the death of  Tim Russert, has been named executive vice president and managing editor for all CNN Worldwide brands.  The New York- based position will place Whitaker at the helm of CNN, CNN International, HLN and the websites, effective February 14, 2011.

“Our aim is to position a strong managing editor, working closely with the head of each CNN network and Web site, to generate reporting and analysis that consistently stands out, sparks conversation and captures the true meaning and relevance of the events in the news,” said CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton. “Mark is a distinguished journalist and news executive who is experienced in leading large enterprises, and I am pleased that he will help direct our long-term editorial approach and strategy.”

Before joining NBC in May 2007 as senior vice president, Whitaker was vice president and editor-in-chief of new ventures in the digital division of The Washington Post Company. He was editor of Newsweek from 1998 to 2006, during which time the magazine won more top editorial awards and nominations than at any time in its history, including four National Magazine Awards for coverage of the attacks of September 11, the Iraq War, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the 2004 elections.

See Whitaker’s FishbowlDC Interview from April of 2009 here.

Author Graham Moore’s Presidential Perks

Novelist Graham Moore with VP Joe Biden

Dealing with the spotlight from a famous mother or father can be drag.  Just ask Chelsea Clinton, Jackie Kucinich or Meghan McCain.  But as new novelist Graham Moore will tell you, having a political power parent also has its perks. While most authors receive a pat on the back after publishing their first book, Moore, the 29-year-old son of outgoing FLOTUS Chief of Staff Susan Sher, is being honored with a lineup of high-profile parties (two in the District alone).  Unfortunately for the fetes to follow, Moore’s first will be nearly impossible to top.

Hosted last night by Dr. Jill Biden and Susan Sher at the residence of the Vice President, an intimate group of  administration and media power players gathered to toast the first-time novelist and his book “The Sherlockian.” Trimmed out for the holidays, the glistening residence at One Observatory Circle welcomed a guest list that included Sec. Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, a bubbly and warm Justice Sonia Sotomayor , White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, Alan Greenspan and Ambassador Fujisaki of Japan to name just a few.

The fourth estate was represented by a number of faces from NBC – Andrea Mitchell, Norah O’Donnell with husband Geoff Tracy, Howard Fineman, Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker and wife Alexis Gelber.  Glamour’s Linda Kramer Jenning, WaPo’s Amy Argetsinger, Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, SELF’s Marc Adelman, ABC News Washington Bureau Chief Robin Sproul, Tammy Haddad,  and Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times rounded out the media invitees. Author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, whose recent cancer diagnosis seemed to have little effect on his spirit, was also in attendance with his son and daughter who are visiting from London.

While joking that his publishers have been instructed to send all press clippings directly to his doting mother, Moore was interrupted by Vice President Joe Biden who walked down the steps of his home to surprise and congratulate the boyish new author.  How’s that for a first book party?

Moore’s next Washington book bash will be held at the home of Hilary Rosen on December 6, 2010.  Check out his book “The Sherlockian” here.

Tammy Haddad with Justice Sotomayor

More photos after the jump.

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Haddad White House Correspondents Brunch: “Best Yet”

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L: CNN’s Jill Chappell chats up Chase Crawford. R: Politico of past, Yahoo writer Michael Calderone with girlfriend.

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NBC Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker and Alexis Gelber.

Everyone from the Jonas Brothers, Gayle King and Chase Crawford to FNC White House correspondent Major Garrett, Roll Call’s Jackie Kucinich and Politico’s former Michaels – Yahoo’s Michael Calderone and HuffPo’s Michael Falcone came out for Tammy Haddad’s annual White House Correspondents brunch on Saturday.

The event and the day couldn’t have been a lovelier way to celebrate causes CURE – Epilepsy and Mother’s Day Every Day. Co-hosted by Ted Greenberg, Hilary Rosen, David Adler, Jim Courtovich, Alex Castellanos, Debra Lee, Steve McMahon and Franco Nuschese, the fete was called the “best yet” by many brunch-goers.

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L: Tammy Haddad and Susan Axelrod take the stage. R: Story Partners’ Amos Snead and wife, Whitney Drew.

Swag Bags Like Whoa @Time & People Magazine Party

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More on the party to come but we couldn’t help but gush over Time and People magazines celeb-caliber swag bags that guests walked with after last night’s swanky party at the St. Regis Hotel. Media-types like CNN’s Edie Emery, Michelle Jaconi and Jill Chappell, NBC’s Betsy Fischer, Andrea Mitchell, Luke Russert, Savannah Guthrie and Mark Whitaker took home patent leather Le Sport Sacs filled with goodies such as a Little Honey travel pillow,Tip Toes foot petals, Murad sunscreen, Clinique Happy Dr. Bronner’s pure castille soap, Tokyo-milk perfume soap, Coola face cream Clinique Men’s face scrub and shave cream, Clinique quick blush, gloss wear, lip smoothie, power mascara, kohl shaper, eye serum and moisture surge, Jock’s Soaps complexion bar, half-dozen Georgetown Cupcakes, EO hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes, Paddy Wax, Envirosax tote, Ecosystem journal, Luxe Link, Company Store Egyptian cotton towel, Joesph Abboud silk necktie, Sygg black panther water bottle and a DVD of HBO’s “By the People” documentary.

And even though the drinks and food flowed freely, the mags sent guests home with snacks like Starbucks Via, Attune probiotic bar, Vita Coco, Bloomsbury Emergency Chocolate bar, Justin’s nut butters, Green’s + chocolate energy bar, Larabar gift set, Serendipity’s frozen hot chocolate mix, Funky Chunky popcorn, Veggie straws, Snikiddy’s baked fries, Theo chocolate gift set and Boost daily health booster.

As my co-editor Betsy Rothstein said this morning, “you have to mention the Tip Toes, the ball-of-foot cushions. Such a rare assortment of items I never knew I wanted so badly.”

Amazing.

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Inside the Book Party of Time Editor Richard Stengel

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Photo credit: Julie Fischer Photography

An intimate party was held Thursday night celebrating the release of Time magazine managing editor Rick Stengel’s tome Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage.

The Aspen Institute’s Walter and Cathy Isaacson threw the party in their home Guests included former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, NBC Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker, PBS’s Judy Woodruff, President Obama’s Director of Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes, WaPo’s Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, V.P. Biden’s Spokesman Jay Carney, Steve and Jean Case (he’s AOL’s co-founder), Council of Economic Advisers member Austan Goolsbee, NBC “MTP” Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, Politico’s Jonathan Martin and more.

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