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Mark Whitaker Jumps From NBC News to CNN

Breaking: CNN Worldwide has named Mark Whitaker executive VP and managing editor, reporting directly to CNN Worldwide chief Jim Walton. Whitaker had been the Washington bureau chief for NBC News.

Whitaker joined NBC News in 2007, and was named DC bureau chief in 2008, following the unexpected death of Tim Russert.

In a note to NBC News employees, Steve Capus praised Whitaker’s leadership:

“I am so grateful to Mark for all of his amazing work— from helping coordinate our coverage of the 2008 and 2010 elections, to David Gregory’s transition as Moderator of “Meet the Press,” overseeing the growth of our DC operations, and strengthening our team of reporters and producers,” Capus said. “All of his work is critical to our success today and I can’t imagine where we would be without his remarkable leadership.”

The newly created EVP/managing editor position for CNN was announced in September, with Walton saying at the time that “the managing editor will come in and he or she will be a strong editorial mind who will help shape our coverage.”

CNN’s full announcement, and Capus’ note to NBC News staffers are after the jump.

Mark Whitaker Named Managing Editor of CNN Worldwide

Mark Whitaker has joined CNN Worldwide in a newly created role as executive vice president and managing editor, reporting directly to Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide. Whitaker was most recently senior vice president and Washington bureau chief at NBC News and the former editor of Newsweek.

In this new role, Whitaker will lead editorial coverage across CNN’s multiple platforms and influence the overall approach, tone and direction of CNN’s reporting. He will assume this new position on Feb. 14, 2011 and will be based in New York.

As managing editor, Whitaker will be responsible for overseeing and integrating news and editorial content across all of CNN’s domestic and international networks and digital platforms, and charting long-term editorial strategy for the organization. Drawing upon CNN’s global newsgathering infrastructure, he will be tasked with leveraging the best of CNN Worldwide’s reporting to create a more powerful and distinctive dialogue about the top news stories of the day.

“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 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.”

“CNN plays an invaluable role in television and digital journalism as a source of non-partisan reporting and analysis, global perspective and groundbreaking documentaries,” said Whitaker. “I am excited to be joining Jim and his team in advancing that proud legacy.”

Whitaker most recently served as senior vice president and Washington bureau chief for NBC News, succeeding the late Tim Russert in July 2008. In that role, he was responsible for Washington-based programming for NBC and MSNBC, including Meet the Press and the network’s political coverage.

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. As editor, Whitaker redesigned Newsweek to emphasize in-depth reporting and diversified opinion columns.

Whitaker joined Newsweek in 1981 and wrote and reported for the International section, covering such major stories as the conflicts in Central America, the Soviet Union and the Middle East. He served as business editor from 1987 to 1991, directing coverage of stories including the stock-market crash and the S&L crisis.

Whitaker graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1979. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and served on the editorial board of the Harvard Crimson. Whitaker attended Oxford University’s Balliol College for postgraduate studies as a Marshall Scholar from 1979-1981.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

Capus:

Team,

I want to express my sincerest thanks and best wishes to Mark Whitaker, who is departing from NBC News. When Mark joined NBC News in 2006 he was my right-hand man here in 30 Rock, supporting this organization’s commitment to journalistic integrity and being a quiet and steady advocate for all that we do. Then, two years ago Mark stepped up to lead the Washington Bureau. Obviously, it was a time of great emotion for the Bureau, and Mark approached his new post with great sensitivity and leadership. The organization he presides over now has evolved under Mark’s leadership. I am so grateful to Mark for all of his amazing work— from helping coordinate our coverage of the 2008 and 2010 elections, to David Gregory’s transition as Moderator of “Meet the Press,” overseeing the growth of our DC operations, and strengthening our team of reporters and producers. All of his work is critical to our success today and I can’t imagine where we would be without his remarkable leadership.

Please join me in wishing Mark the very best in the next phase of his career.

Steve

Walton’s note to staff:

To: CNN Staff

From: Jim Walton

=======================================================

It gives me great pleasure to announce today a new leader within the CNN organization. Mark Whitaker will be joining CNN Worldwide in the newly created role as executive vice president and managing editor. Mark comes most recently from NBC news where he has served as senior vice president and D.C. bureau chief, and prior to that he was the editor of Newsweek.

As you know, I have been eager to bring on a managing editor to fully leverage the editorial strengths across all of our networks and platforms. I believe that Mark has the right combination of expertise and passion for the high journalistic standards central to CNN’s mission as well as a keen understanding of the changing trends in the media industry and the importance of breakthrough programming.

I am excited that Mark will be joining our team and look forward to you having the opportunity to hear from Mark directly when he begins, February 14.

Attached is the press release which is going out this morning.

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