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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Feist’

Layoffs in CNN’s Washington Bureau

Approximately a dozen CNN employees in the Washington D.C. bureau have been laid off. We understand that new editorial positions are being created across all CNN programming. The network’s Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist sent a note to D.C. staff late this afternoon.

Our sister site TVNewser broke the news. Read more about company-wide layoffs here.

How it affects Washington…Feist wrote, “As these changes take place, we must also recognize the contributions of a number of people leaving CNN Washington. Some members of the Live Unit will be leaving. Earlier today, Jack Womack detailed changes taking place in Image + Sound and some of those changes will also impact our Photojournalist staffing in Washington. Separately the CNN Library is centralizing some of its core functions to Atlanta, which will impact some Library positions in Washington.I realize that these transitions can be very difficult and create many questions. However,we believe that the changes we are making here in Washington and across CNN will make us even stronger going forward.”

See Feist’s complete memo…

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CNN Names Sherling Director of Washington Programming

CNN has named Eric Sherling director of Washington programming. Sam Feist, CNN Washington Bureau Chief and Senior VP, announced the news today. Sherling rejoins CNN after serving as executive broadcast producer of Good Morning America at ABC News.

In this role, he will oversee Washington political programming. This means everything from The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer to John King, USA to State of the Union with Candy Crowley and Reliable Sources. Sherling will also play a lead role in CNN’s special campaign coverage that includes debates, primary nights, and Election night programming.

“We are delighted to welcome Eric back to Washington and to the CNN family,” said Feist. “His experience speaks for itself. He’ll be an invaluable asset as the network heads into the 2012 election cycle.”

His past is full of awards: Sherling first joined CNN in 2000 as a producer in the network’s Atlanta headquarters and rose to become executive producer of Wolf Blitzer Reports in Washington. He served as supervising producer of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer when it launched in August 2005, later becoming executive producer of that program. Sherling began his career in television news as a producer at WTVQ in Lexington, Ky. and WFLA-TV in Tampa, Fla. Sherling earned his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Ithaca College and graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center.

CNN’s New Guard Greets Fox Newsers

A peculiar welcome wagon awaited Brit Hume and Karl Rove outside Fox News’ Washington bureau on Wednesday night.  Before they could enter the studios for their respective hits, both Fox Newsers were forced to pass by some 200 guests of CNN’s New Guard fete.  Awwwwkward.

“Rove looks like he could use a drink,” remarked one party goer.  “Call him over,” suggested another.

But unfazed by the clinking of glasses and rumble of voices, neither FNC personality gave more than a glance at the crew who had congregated on the patio of Johnny’s Half Shell, right in front of Fox’s North Capitol Street headquarters.

Sipping vino and noshing the night away, under glowing CNN logos were ‘new guarders’ such as DOD’s Doug Wilson, UN Foundation’s Heather Wong, Wally Adeyemo from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, W.H. Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, State Department new media guru Alec Ross, CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf, Doug Heye, Ayotte press secretary Jeff Grappone, Reid communications director Adam Jentleson, Jen Psaki, Thune’s Kyle Downey, Duke University’s Ronnie Chatterji, Rand Paul spokeswoman Moira Bagley and Becca Glover from Rep. Issa’s press shop.  They mixed and mingled with CNN’s Sam Feist, Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash, Edie Emery, Megan Grant, Donna Brazile, Jill Chappell, Sarah Baker, Jen Scoggins, and media types such as The Hill’s Judy Kurtz, Kelly DiNardo, WaPo’s Amy Argetsinger, and soon-to-be Roll Call’s Abby Livingston.

At the end of the evening CNN bid their guests farewell with a gift: network-branded umbrellas, in case of rain.

Jaconi Leaves “John King, USA”

Not everyone is making the move to John King, USA’s new time slot when the show transition’s from 7 p.m. to 6 o’clock next week.  FishbowlDC has confirmed that Michelle Jaconi, the show’s executive producer, will not be joining King in the earlier hour.  Sources say that King has a candidate in mind to fill the vacancy but CNN brass has yet to confirm the name of a new EP.

As for Michelle, she’s not going anywhere.  When asked for comment on Jaconi’s future with the network, a spokeswoman said only, “An announcement will follow shortly for both Michelle’s new role and a new executive producer for JK, USA.”  But as we understand it, the bubbly producer is gunning for a brand new gig to work alongside Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist.   (Pictured left: Jaconi with Feist)

CNN to Host “The New Guard”

Tomorrow evening CNN and DC Bureau Chief Sam Feist will celebrate Washington’s next generation of newsmakers at their New Guard cocktail party.  Hosted at Johnny’s Half Shell, the invite-only event will serve as an opportunity for the city’s rising stars  to rub elbows with the network’s on-air talent, bookers and producers.  Held in 2009, the last New Guard fete brought out a slew up up-and-coming journos, Hill staffers and pols like Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL).

If you are looking to increase your television presence and were lucky enough to land an invite, tomorrow night’s cocktail is a must-attend.  The event will be held tomorrow – Tuesday, September 27, 2011 from 6.30-8.30 pm.

Athena Jones to CNN

Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist announced this morning that Athena Jones will join CNN as a general assignment reporter, appearing on programs across the network.  Most recently a White House producer for NBC News, Jones also covered the Clinton and Obama presidential campaigns during the 2008 election cycle for NBC and the National Journal. Prior to her time at NBC, Jones served as a freelance producer for CNN.  She also worked as an international correspondent from Chile and Argentina  for Reuters and Bloomberg News.

Jones begins in her new position immediately.  Congrats to Athena!

A CNN Prince is Born

It’s a bouncing baby boy for John King and Dana Bash!  While newly-named White House correspondent Jessica Yellin manned “John King, USA” Tuesday evening, CNN’s politicouple welcomed to the world Jonah Frank King.

In response to news of the birth, DC Bureau Chief Sam Feist tweeted congratulations and a prediction that baby King (prince?) would be a “future star political reporter.”  JK USA contributor Erick Erickson countered, saying “I think his dad would much prefer him being a future Red Sox star.”

At least he has options.  Either way, welcome to the Fishbowl, Jonah!

Fun Facts: Jonah King shares his birthday with Kellie Pickler, Kathy Bates, Gilda Radner, Mel Brooks and RealClearPolitics’ Erin McPike. June 28th is also Paul Bunyan Day.

CNN’s Yellin Gets ‘Dream’ Job

In a speedy announcement after Ed Henry‘s blockbuster news that he was leaving CNN for Fox News last week, CNN’s Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist has picked Jessica Yellin to join the network’s White House unit. The news was announced this morning. Yellin begins her new assignment as chief White House correspondent immediately.

“This is a dream assignment,” said Yellin in a statement. “I’m honored CNN is putting its faith in me and humbled by the responsibility of covering the White House during these challenging times—and as we head into an election. I look forward to providing our viewers an honest assessment of the policies and the politics that affect our lives everyday.”

Where has Yellin worked? Find out about her professional past after the jump…

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Who Will Replace Ed Henry at CNN?

Yesterday we learned the stunning news that CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry is jumping ship for the network’s competitor Fox News. The mood inside CNN is one of shock as colleagues never saw this coming. CNN says it will announce Henry’s replacement soon. The network has a solid policy of hiring from within. But that choice rests largely with Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist.

So who are the possibilities? We lay them out here.

TOP PICK: Jessica Yellin


Why she’ll get it: As the National Political Correspondent, her work goes all over the world both for CNN and CNN International. She’s wicked smart and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. She’s a great campaign reporter. As a national reporter, she knows how to cover both the White House and campaigns. Very personable on camera. Young and vibrant. Asks tough questions. People like her. They respect her. “When I watch her I can relax,” an industry source remarked.

Why she won’t: Does CNN really want so many women at the White House? Most of the network’s producers there are women, with Alexander Mooney as the lone male White House producer. Her off-air meticulousness (which could also be construed as a compliment) sometimes grates on colleagues.

SAFE PICK: Dan Lothian


Why he’ll get it: He’s earned it. He’s second in command on the White House beat and knows the nuts and bolts of daily coverage inside and out. He’s the safe choice and CNN has a penchant for making relatively safe choices (don’t think Eliot Spitzer, but everyone else). Lothian earned his B.A. from Tennessee Temple University and a master’s degree from American University in Washington, D.C.

Why he won’t: He lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. No pizzazz. 

THE RIGHT CHOICE: Dana Bash


Why she’ll get it: She handled the recent, topsy turvy Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) scandal with grace and skill. She knows how to cover the politics of Capitol Hill, but she could also shift easily to the presidential campaign trail. Quick on her feet. Excellent sources. Knows how to break news.

Why she won’t: Her water is about to break. “The joke is that she’s going to break her water live on air.”

UNUSUAL TWIST: Brianna Keilar


Why she’ll get it: The new kid on the White House beat, Keilar has social buzz. She attends events around town and gets mentioned in magazines. She sings. She’s unafraid. Coming from the Capitol Hill beat, she has a depth of understanding about politics.

Why she won’t: Too green to the White House beat. Others deserve it before she does.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Jim Acosta


Why he’ll get it: People like him. He’s physically attractive. He’s covering Gov. John Huntsman‘s presidential campaign and is at ease out on the trail. Brass likes him on the trail. He’s solid. He knows his stuff.

Why he won’t: He’s in with the campaigns and that’s where he belongs. Sources tell us he’s not exactly the most energetic person.

WILD CARD: Richard Quest


Why he’ll get it: He’s funny. Really, really smart on economics and business. Not boring. He’d ask fantastic questions in the tone of The Daily Show — so bizarre, but at the same time, enticing. He’d be the entertainment choice.

Why he won’t: He’d be entertaining. So not a chance in hell. There’s also that little brush with the law. In April, 2008 he was arrested in Central Park after he’d been cruising for men with a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals. He had a sex toy in his boot and Meth in his pocket. Need we say more?

UNCONVENTIONAL CHOICE: NYT‘s Jeff Zeleny.

Why he’ll get it: He’s at ease on TV covering national politics. He’s smart, wonky and networks have been known to steal print journalists for the bright lights. Think NBC’s Chuck Todd, lured away from NJ’s The Hotline by the late Tim Russert.

Why he won’t: Would this print journo make the leap to TV? He’s an unknown entity in a few different senses. CNN likes safe. And while Zeleny might be an interesting choice, he’s not safe.

Feist to Bureau: “CNN Senior Mgt. Behind JK USA”

Earlier today, CNN’s Sam Feist held his first staff briefing since accepting the position of Washington bureau chief for the network.  Insiders tell FishbowlDC that Feist applauded his team’s poise under pressure during last week’s blackout which left both CNN and CQ Roll Call without power.

“If we can do what we do when the electricity if off…just imagine what we’re capable of doing when the power is on,” he gushed.

Feist gave special praise to Dana Bash for breaking news on Weinergate and shared astonishment that Wolf Blitzer never broke a sweat on air, despite being forced to broadcast from outdoors during the blackout. But in addition to the warm fuzzies, Feist took the opportunity to address the future of  “John King, USA.”

Referring to Page Six’s yearlong campaign against King and the show, Feist told his team, “I want to put a rumor to rest.  Senior management is behind ‘John King, USA.’”  “The rumors are false and have always been false,” he added.

Before adjourning, Feist gifted the staff flashlight key chains that read “I Survived the CNN DC Blackout 2011.”

*Photo of Feist tweeted by @WolfBlitzerCNN: Congrats to new CNN DC bureau chief @SamFeistCNN briefing staff. Very good start.

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