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Posts Tagged ‘Soledad O’Brien’

How Soledad O’Brien Would Have Covered the Government Shutdown

SoledadOBrienSoledad O’Brien, the former CNN morning anchor, now has another label to add to her already impressive resume: CEO. O’Brien recently launched Starfish Media Group, a multiplatform company that has already garnered partnerships with HBO, Al Jazeera America and CNN.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, O’Brien talks about the challenges of being your own boss, gives advice to undergrads and tells why journalists should follow their passion:

What would the field look like if journalists could spend the bulk of their time reporting on their areas of passion? How would that translate to the information and the consumers of that information?

I’ll give you an example. Let’s talk about a “shut down the government” story. Most channels are going to be sitting in D.C. going back and forth like, “Here’s John Boehner and the president.” That’s really going to be your coverage, as if the entire world revolves around Washington. As much as they can shut down the government, the impact is not going to be felt solely there. You could tell that story through the communities that are going to be affected. I think that right there, if you told it that way, you could really change the debate that’s going on in the news.

To hear more from O’Brien, read: So What Do You Do, Soledad O’Brien, CEO of Starfish Media Group?

– Aneya Fernando

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Over 32,000 Tell CNN to Dump Family Research Council’s Perkins

A petition by Faithful America says Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council here in D.C., who’s often asked by all the major networks—not just CNN—to speak for Christian voters, doesn’t represent all Christians. They wanted 15,000 signatures and they’ve received over 32,000.

A big issue here seems to be that using a single voice to represent something as amorphous as American Christianity is a tad simplistic and to some Christians, maybe even offensive? The petition notes a segment with Perkins and Wolf Blitzer, from when the Supreme Court struck down a part of the Defense of Marriage Act last month.

They say Perkins “falsely warned that the court decision would lead to ‘religious organizations losing their exemption,’” and that Blitzer “failed to challenge Perkins’ lies, nor did his segment feature any Christian leaders with a different point of view — despite polls showing that a majority of Christians actually oppose the Defense of Marriage Act.”

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Zucker’s Bold Morning Show Announcement: Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan

CNN President Jeff Zucker sent a quick note to staff this morning, filling them in on news of the new upcoming morning program that will replace Soledad O’Brien‘s “Starting Point.”

He wrote: “I wanted to be the first to share with you all a very exciting announcement we are about to make about our new morning show.  We welcomed Chris Cuomo to the CNN family last month, and we are now rounding out the team with our own Kate Bolduan, and welcoming Michaela Pereira from KTLA in Los Angeles.  There will be much more news about this exciting new show in the weeks to come, but today’s announcement gives us a very strong start.  Please join me in congratulating Chris and Kate, and welcoming Michaela to CNN.”

Per a press release, CNN announced today that Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan will co-host the network’s new morning show, which will premiere this spring. Michaela Pereira will join CNN from KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles, as the program’s news anchor. News executive Jim Murphy will oversee the program as senior executive producer, and Matt Frucci will serve as executive producer. The show will be broadcast from CNN’s New York City studios.

“I’ve been looking forward to this announcement since I first joined CNN,” said Zucker.

 

CNN’s Roland Martin Kickin’ It With His Homegirl Soledad O’Brien

The funk is back. At least for a few days.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien put in a special word for her friend and CNN Contributor Roland Martin to appear on two of the remaining days of “Starting Point” this week. Martin appeared on her program this morning and is scheduled to show up again on Friday.

Martin, whose six-year contact with the network ends on April 6, has had sparse appearances on CNN as of late as producers were told not to book him.

Needless to say, Martin was ecstatic to appear on O’Brien’s program, even if he is perceived to be a persona non grata within certain circles there.

 

CNN Shutting Down Martin’s ‘Funk’ in Final Days?

The TV world can be so cold. When you’re out, you’re out. And sometimes sooner than you might expect.

There are 17 days left on Roland Martin‘s CNN contract. But the powers that be appear to be shutting it down early. With his contract ending April 6, some producers have been informed not to book him, FishbowlDC has learned. We knew something was awry when we noticed Martin hadn’t tweeted his usual #bringthefunk alert on Twitter that he’d be appearing on Erin Burnette’s “Out Front,” which he hasn’t done in a month. On Wednesday he tweeted that he did Canadian TV. The Canadians can find time to bring Martin’s funk, but not CNN?

Let’s get this straight. That semi-usual appearance he had on Thursdays during Carol Costello‘s slot? Gone. It’s been three weeks since he appeared on her program and months since he appeared on “The Situation Room.” He was also non-existent during CNN Inauguration coverage in January. A final appearance on his close friend, Soledad O’Brien‘s program, which ends next week? That appears to be a dead end proposition, too.

Martin’s fierce Twittering following is not pleased. “I’m certainly going to miss you on CNN,” wrote Pasadena, Calif. resident Carolee Reed. “I cant believe that the two people who always kept it real are leaving.” (Person number two being O’Brien, she explains.) Ebony Shamberger, a UNC J-School student, was dumfounded. “Leaving CNN on April 6 — what?” she wrote in response to Reed.

Martin isn’t the only one being given the shaft. Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

“Abby Cornish has vegan shoes.” — CNN’s Soledad O’Brien regarding the actress, not NPR’s Audie Cornish as we originally thought due to a lack of caffeine.

Whoa! What?

“Chicks with big tits always seem to say the right things.” — Undisclosed D.C. publicist. (Of course we’re going to go ahead and assume the person was hacked. We haven’t heard back.)

Journo Hate Mail

The Hater: “@kirstenpowers10 you dumbass political whore please explain to the rest of us how Paul Ryan ran up this national debt?”

FNC Contributor Kirsten Powers: “Really?”

HotAir’s Mary Katharine Ham: “It’s always nice when they say ‘please, whore.’ Blech.”

Martosko, Markosko, Marsoko?

“Hey, at least Dave Weigel spelled my name right. Oh, wait …” — The Daily Caller‘s Executive Editor David Martosko on Slate‘s Dave Weigel‘s screwy spelling of his surname this week in a story. He wrote: “Markosko” (We’re sure it wasn’t personal. He got it right in the first reference. As of this moment, the spelling of Martosko’s last name is still “Markosko.”)

Politico Playbook Publish Time: 9:32 a.m.

Speaking of which….today Mike Allen makes fun of WaPo: “WASHPOST ON IT! Front page TODAY (also leads homepage, in case ya missed everyone else’s stories the past couple days)” You can read the rest of today’s edition here.

The Media Critic

“Shorter National Journal now: how may we troll you today?” — Media Matters research fellow Oliver Willis. Three minutes later: “We need a good distracting celebrity scandal. What’s Lohan or Spears up to?”

Technological difficulties

“(sniff, sniff) microsoft email not working for some reason … this is a crippling setback, and I’m not sure how to act – champagne, anyone?” — Bill Starks, News Assignment Manager, WUSA-TV9.

CNN’s Zucker to Meet With NABJ to Discuss Network’s State of Black Journalists

CNN President Jeff Zucker is scheduled to meet today in Atlanta with the leadership of the National Association of Black Journalists to discuss the state of black journalists at the network, FishbowlDC has learned.

Bob Butler, Vice President of Broadcast for NABJ, posted a note on the group’s Yahoo list serve last night saying that he, President Greg Lee and Executive Director Maurice Foster, will sit down with Zucker today.

The meeting comes on the heels of an announcement last week that morning show anchor and NABJ member Soledad O’Brien is transitioning to a new and less visible role at the network producing documentaries.

Speculation continues… Read more

The FishbowlDC Interview With WTOP’s ‘Brickin Brackin Sassafrassin’ JJ Green

Say hello to WTOP’s National Security Correspondent JJ Green, who has worked at the station since 2004. Asked for his thoughts on new versus old media, he replied, “I’ve always been sort of forward leading when it comes to technology. The title for my senior thesis for broadcast journalism was ‘Selected Implications of Satellite Electronic Surveillance.’” Mr. Smartypants graduated from Hampton University, near Virgina Beach. “I had no idea, no understanding that led me to believe I’d be involved in covering national security now. I had no clue, no interest and look where I ended up.” Green praises new media, but stresses that you still have to go that extra step of verification. “We’re so breathless now, with so many other avenues and sources for people to get their news that there is pressure individually to want to keep up and be recognized,” he said. “We have to be really careful when using social media.” Green covers global intelligence and terrorism. His career history is extensive, but we’ll give you highlights. He came to Washington in 1989 to work as a reporter for WMAL radio. After working as a weekend reporter on FOX-5 WTTG in the early 90s, he worked on air as a correspondent-in-training on ABC News NIGHTLINE. He covered various elements of the O.J. Simpson trial and race relations. Asked if he thinks O.J. was guilty, he said, “No, I did not and I do not now have an opinion on that. As a journalist, I don’t think that my opinion really counts when it comes to covering the news.” Green’s resume includes working at CNN, where he covered The Million Man March and The Balkan Peace Talks as a general assignment reporter in Washington. In the late 90s he began working for the Voice of America Television and as host and correspondent of Africa Journal while traveling extensively. Don’t try trash talking him in another language. He’s fluent in Spanish, speaks working level French and is studying Korean and Arabic. Among the problems he faces with government public affairs is they have lumped radio into one pool, so that it all appears to be talk radio. “WTOP is a news radio station not a talk radio station,” Green said fervently. “We have people who do opinion for us. It’s not designed to be a talk radio station.”  In 1996, Green landed what he looks at now as “the” job: host of C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Asked if he kept a straight face with callers, he said, “I think I laughed once while I was at C-SPAN. A caller phoned in and said ‘Dude, you dress almost as nicely as Brian Lamb.’ I cleared by throat and regained my seriousness.” Lamb is purportedly a great dresser. And Green? “I like nice clothes.”

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? One that is finished.

How often do you Google yourself? Whenever someone says “hey have you googled yourself lately?”

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? “No” is the worst I’ve ever said. Thoughts are another matter.

Have you ever goofed up on air? What happened? Yes, a colleague at a radio station, who shall not be named, sneaked into the radio studio years ago and lit my news copy on fire and I huffed and puffed my way through it.  True story.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Tavis Smiley, because one day when I used to host C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” and I was getting hammered by some guy on the phone for being political, which I was clearly not, Tavis, who was my guest, immediately pivoted from the cool intelligent scholar he is and verbally assaulted this guy on live television to get him off my back.

Do you have a favorite word? Yes… is my favorite word. No is such a waste of effort.

Who are you named after and what are people’s general reaction to your name? I’m named after JJ Green Sr. So Jessie James Green Jr. is my full name and our middle name, James, came from his mom’s maiden name. She was not inspired to name her son after a gunslinger.

Who would you rather have dinner with – NBC’s Brian Williams, CNN’s Roland Martin, ABC’s Sherri Shepherd or Fox News’ Megyn Kelly? Tell us why. I’d choose NBC’s Brian Williams, because I tell him how Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube are always cutting up at the Pentagon gaggle. No actually, I’d ask him if he wanted to switch jobs for about 10 years. Read more

CNN’s Blitzer, O’Brien Make Cameos in Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’

Though he participated in a well-documented Twitter fight back in 2009 with TWT‘s Emily Miller, it appears actor Kevin Spacey has forgotten who she is.

“I don’t know she is,” he said when asked if we could send Miller his regards at the red carpet premier of Netflix’s “House of Cards” last night at the Newseum. FishbowlDC explained that Miller tipped off the FBI about details surrounding the Jack Abramoff scandal, as portrayed in the film “Casino Jack,” starring Spacey himself. “Oh,” Spacey said, sort of recalling who Miller is. “Hi! Sure. I don’t know what you’re asking me,” he said. Then his handlers moved him along.

“House of Cards” tells the story of Francis Underwood, played by Spacey, a congressional Democrat who wheels and deals his way to the top of the political world. Michael Dobbs, the creator, told FishbowlDC that he wrote the story “as a form of therapy” after having worked as the chief of staff to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the late ’80s.

The Washington news corps. plays a heavy, fictional role in the show, which is based on the original 1990s BBC series of the same name. James Foley, one of the show’s directors, said while working on story lines he’d ask himself whether it would be believable if he saw it reported on CNN. If not, he’d ask the lead writer for adjustments to the script. He also said actual on-air talent from CNN make cameos in the show, including… Read more

CNN ‘Starting Point’ Staffers Brace Themselves

The announcement that CNN is totally revamping its morning show and scrapping Soledad O’Brien‘s “Starting Point” has sent shivers through her staff.

Insiders tell us Executive VP Ken Jautz and VP Bart Feder addressed the staff after the show went off the air today. Suffice it to say, the era of Jeff Zucker is underway.

In a nutshell, the execs said they have no answers for the staff and were unable to address most of their questions. Members of the staff were assured their jobs were safe, but one veteran of the changing show carousel at CNN says they would be naive to believe that.

“Every single one of these people should be preparing their resumes and trying to get out of that building as fast as possible,” a network insider told FishbowlDC, explaining that staffers are worried for their jobs. The prevailing feeling is that O’Brien, who previously worked with Zucker at NBC, will end up in another role.

For the month of January, “Starting Point” drew an average of 264,000 viewers. MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” drew 468,000 and FNC’s “Fox & Friends” drew 1.07 million. “Morning Express” on HLN drew 218,000. The broadcast shows (CBS, ABC, NBC) drew millions more than any of the aforementioned programs. In other words, “Starting Point” is behind everyone except its sister network HLN, and HLN is getting close.

Another network insider with a vantage point to this morning’s meeting said it was hilarious to watch Jautz and Feder address the “Starting Point” staff, considering they were two of the main culprits who contributed to the potential demise and dismantling of the show.

From day one, “Starting Point” was in disarray, according to multiple sources aware of the drama going on behind the scenes of the show. It wasn’t supposed to debut in January, 2012, but the decision was made to rush it on the air to coincide with the Iowa caucus. From its launch the show was never fully staffed; all the promises of branding and promotion never materialized; and the constant executive in-fighting over what to do with the show angered its host and staff.

Former CNN Managing Editor Mark Whitaker, who announced his resignation Tuesday, loved the panel format because he desired the show to have the same buzz as MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” But Jautz hated the panel, resulting in it being downsized from 7-9 a.m. to 7:30 to 9 a.m. And when Soledad was off, the panel was only on from 8-9 a.m.

Jautz also detested a single-anchor format. He preferred a two-anchor format, even going as far as focus-group testing Brooke Baldwin and John Berman when O’Brien was away.

So as Whitaker and Jautz waged a constant battle over who would control the destiny of CNN – a scenario set up by then-CNN President Jim Walton when he divided up the duties of Jon Klein when he was canned – “Early Start” and “Starting Point” were ground zero for their battle.

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