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5 Questions With… José Díaz-Balart

coverJose Diaz-BalartCuban-American journalist José Díaz-Balart is among the very rarest of TV news anchors. He hosts shows on two networks, in two languages: in the mornings on MSNBC and in the evenings on Telemundo. Today’s announcement that the U.S. was beginning a process to normalize diplomatic ties to Cuba hits especially close to home for Díaz-Balart. He is the son of a former Cuban politician and has a brother in the U.S. Congress.

We caught up with Díaz-Balart before this morning’s news to discuss his recent interview with the president, his proudest achievements and the best Cuban sandwich available in the United States.

TVNewser: You were very busy last week. Bigger accomplishment: Interviewing President Obama or being congratulated on the House floor?

Díaz-Balart: I so appreciate both: I was surprised at the congresswoman’s recognition of my 30 years in the business. And interviewing the President, my tenth I believe, is always important. Both were extremely rewarding. Plus, I got a chance to catch my eldest daughter singing in her school choir… three great events.

TVNewser: What’s the proudest moment of your career, overall?

Díaz-Balart: Being named anchor of Noticiero Telemundo on December 15, 2009 (this week is my 5th anniversary), and most recently the host of “The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart” on MSNBC. Being able to reach audiences in two languages a day is truly a privilege.

TVNewser: You host shows on Telemundo and MSNBC. Seriously, when do you sleep?

Díaz-Balart: Sleep? I remember that!  Even though my work day is admittedly long (6am-10pm) I can honestly tell you that I love it so much I only wish there were more hours in the day so I could do more!

TVNewser: Best place to get a Cuban sandwich in America? Read more

Gretchen Carlson Speaks to Widow of ‘American Sniper’

SniperBeginning today on “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson,“ Gretchen will talk to Taya Kyle, the real widow of the “American Sniper,” who is played by Sienna Miller in the upcoming film. Part two of the interview will air tomorrow at 2 pm ET.

Gretchen and Taya will discuss the movie, Jesse Ventura’s lawsuit against Chris Kyle’s estate and the trial of Chris’ alleged killer. “American Sniper” is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper, in addition to Miller. It hits theaters Jan. 16.

Last of ‘Murrow’s Boys,’ Richard Hottelet, Dies

HotteletRichard C. Hottelet, the last living member of Edward R. Murrow‘s team known as “Murrow’s Boys,” has died. Hottelet, who spent 40 years at CBS News radio and TV, died this morning at home in Wilton, Ct. He was 97.

In 1957, after years of war and post-war reporting, Hottelet anchored a 15-minute daily newscast for CBS called “Richard C. Hottelet with the News.”

“Richard C. Hottelet was the ultimate CBS News reporter,” said Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and executive producer of “60 Minutes.” “He was one of the true gentleman reporters, a real ‘Murrow boy,’ an elegant combination of reporter and storyteller.” From the CBS News obituary:

Hottelet was the last to join the team when he presented himself to Murrow in London and was hired in January 1944 to help report the imminent Allied invasion of Europe. His first war reports for CBS were from the air; he is believed to have made the first recording for broadcast on a warplane while flying on a bombing mission over France in the spring of 1944. On D-Day, Hottelet was in a bomber again, this one attacked German defenses on Utah Beach and returned to London safely in time for him to broadcast the first eyewitness report of the Allied invasion. Read more

Dominic Di-Natale Sent Letter, Text Message Before Death

FNCDominic Di-Natale was suffering from post-traumatic stress and recurring seizures in the months leading up to his suicide earlier this month. Di-Natale covered the Middle East for Fox News, including its war zones, starting in 2007. The New York Times has uncovered a letter Di-Natale sent to a close friend. The letter sheds some light on Di-Natale’s state of mind at the time of his death.

Times editorial writer Ernesto Londono, who knew D-Natale personally, writes:

There’s an addictive aspect to covering war. It’s partly the adrenaline rush and partly a sense that you’re doing consequential work. But to a large extent, war became a lure to many of us because of the magnificent camaraderie that dark, dangerous places can create. In war zones, our vulnerability makes it easy to form strong, intimate bonds with colleagues quickly. The loneliness many of us felt when we returned home was jarring.

Di-Natale explained in the letter that his career, “afforded me professional integrity and social validity in others’ eyes. I had absolutely none prior to going to war. I wasn’t even a real man until then.”

The Times also reveals that Di-Natale sent a text message, instructing a friend where authorities could find his body. “I cannot live and diminish with this illness,” he wrote. “To my father, to you and to those I have hurt and inconvenienced, I am so very, very sorry.”

CNN, ‘Frontline’ Among 2015 duPont Winners

4038v2239 (1)CNN and PBS’ “Frontline” were among the winners of 2015 duPont-Columbia awards, announced this morning by the Columbia University School of Journalism.

“Frontline” gets two duPonts: one for “United States of Secrets,” described by the judges as the “inside story of how the U.S. government collected vast quantities of Americans’ private information and then hid its actions”; the other for “Syria’s Second Front,” which was one of the first inside glimpses into ISIS through “a groundbreaking, harrowing account of the factions fighting there.”

CNN’s “Weed: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports” was honored for “parsing the science and politics of a divisive issue.”

The duPont judges noted that digital media is clearly impacting who tells stories, and how those stories are shared, with Netflix becoming the first streaming media service to win. Netflix’s feature documentary, “Virunga,” gets a duPont for being “a powerful immersive film that explores the conflict between global politics and environmentalism.”

Who Was at the White House Holiday Party Last Night?

GretaTree“CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley and executive producer Steve Capus were among the tvnewsers at last night’s White House media holiday party.

Also spotted, Chris Licht, VP of Programming for CBS News, morning anchors Norah O’Donnell from “CBS This Morning,” “Morning Joe’s” Joe Scarborough, CNN “New Day” anchor Chris Cuomo and “Good Morning America’s” George Stephanopoulos. CNN anchors Candy Crowley and Wolf Blitzer were there, as were Fox News anchors Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren, and Greta’s husband John Coale.

CNN executives Jeff Zucker and Andrew Morse, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, PBS’s Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, MSNBC anchor Joy Ann Reid (with her eldest son in tow), Haddad Media’s Tammy Haddad, and DC correspondents including FNC’s Shannon Bream, CBS’s Bill Plante, CNN’s Joe Johns, and NBC’s Chris Jansing and Kelly O’Donnell.

(Photo: via Greta)

NBC News Producer’s Sons Were Inside Peshawar School During Attack

jibran_f600bf42a80f7dc47ee5370f425c7c54.nbcnews-ux-640-360An award-winning NBC News producer, Mushtaq Yusufzai, has detailed his personal experience as the father of two boys who were inside the Army Public School in Peshawar when it came under Taliban attack Tuesday. He was confronted with two challenges: caring for his family, and covering the story. “It was the most difficult day of my career.”

Yusufzai has covered Pakistan for NBC News, working from his base in Peshawar. His sons, Jibran, 8 (pictured), and Daniyal, 13, were unhurt in the attack. But Yusufzai didn’t know that for hours, as he tried to get answers on their fate–and provide NBC News with on-the-ground reporting:

For five hours we had no idea where my sons were and couldn’t speak to them. I had to console my wife who was weeping on the telephone. But I’m a journalist, too, so I was calling to learn about my kids and on the other hand had to inform my colleagues and the desk about developments.

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Correspondent David Mattingly Leaving CNN

david_mattingly_cnn_h_2012CNN national correspondent David Mattingly has announced he is leaving the network at the end of the year. In a post on Facebook, Mattingly said he will be “walking out of the building a better journalist and better person than when I walked in.”

Mattingly, who has been with CNN since 1992–and, as he pointed out, traveled to 30 countries and all fifty states–said of his next step only that he will be leaving CNN “to try my hand at something new (more on that later).”

Read Mattingly’s message in full, after the jump. Read more

CNN’s #AskACop Trends, Pretty Much Exactly the Way You Could’ve Predicted

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Ahead of a “CNN Tonight” special, Cops Under Fire, the CNN show’s Twitter account asked followers to suggest questions they had about how police officers think and work: “what would you like to ask them? Send in your Q’s w #AskACop.” If your first thought is a joking–or harshly critical–response, it seems you are very much like most of the people on Twitter. “Pretty sure that #AskACop is not going exactly how CNN thought it was going to go,” said Twitter user Jim Avery.

The show bragged later–in a tweet re-tweeted by @CNN–that #AskACop was trending nationally. Well, yes. But that’s not always a good thing. Just ask the NYPD how #myNYPD worked out. Or you could check in with FSU and see how they’re feeling about the response they got with #AskJameis.
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‘Oh, God, It’s Mom’: Political Strategist Brothers Scolded by Mom on C-SPAN

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Brad and Dallas Woodhouse bring a built-in political argument everywhere they go. But their Mom says leave that stuff in Washington when you come home for Christmas. “I’m hoping you’ll have some of this out of your system when you come here for Christmas,” Joy Woodhouse warned her sons on live television. “I would really like a peaceful Christmas and I love you both.”

The Woodhouse brothers were on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” Tuesday morning to talk about a documentary, “Woodhouse Divided”, that examines their unique sibling rivalry–Brad Woodhouse is president of American Bridge, a Democratic opposition research organization, and Dallas Woodhouse is president of Carolina Rising, a conservative political organization headquartered in North Carolina.

The brothers had no idea the caller “Joy in North Carolina” was Mom until she began scolding them about having a nice, friendly holiday. “Oh, God, it’s Mom,” said Dallas Woodhouse.

Watch it, after the jump: Read more

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