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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Avila’

Jim Avila Moves To White House Beat For ABC/Univision

The ABC/Univision venture continues to staff up, and today’s addition is a big one. Jim Avila, who had been ABC’s senior national correspondent, will join Jon Karl on ABC’s White House team. Once the still-unnamed ABC/Univision cable news channel launches, he will become its first White House correspondent.

He will continue to contribute to “20/20″ and will also become ABCs go-to correspondent for issues related to “Hispanic America, immigration reform, education, politics and other issues vitally important to the Latino community,” the network says.

The hiring is significant, and really underscores how seriously ABC and Univison are taking the new joint venture. The last big cable news JV, MSNBC, borrowed its White House correspondent from NBC News, as it still does now. In Avila, the ABC/Univision channel will have a correspondent who can ask questions directly related to its audience.

In his memo to staff, ABC News president Ben Sherwood also announced a new role for political contributor Matthew Dowd (more on that here). The full memo, after the jump.
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The Most Covered Stories And Most Utilized Correspondents Of 2012

The Tyndall Report has released its analysis of the network evening newscasts in 2012. As usual, it provides insight into the differences between the newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as who the “most valuable players” are, so to speak.

The top story of 2012 on both “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” and “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” was coverage of Mitt Romney‘s Presidential bid. On the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley,” the top story last year was the rebellion in Syria. CBS spent more time on Syria than NBC and ABC combined.

ABC spent more time than NBC or CBS on soft news stories, like holiday shopping and the British Royals, with NBC dedicating more time to natural disasters than its competitors. CBS spent far more time covering news stories abroad.

The most-utilized correspondent of 2012 was ABC’s David Muir, who spent 426 minutes on-air last year.

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ABC News Hit With Another ‘Pink Slime’ Lawsuit

A worker who was laid off from Beef Products, Inc. is suing ABC News, claiming the network’s use of the “pink slime” phrase to describe BPI’s products led to him losing his job.

The worker, Bruce Smith, is one of 750 people who laid off at BPI. The South Dakota-based company is also suing ABC News for $1.2 billion in damages, claiming the network aired about 200 “false and misleading and defamatory” reports referring to their line, finely textured beef as “pink slime.”

BPI and “and its employees were unfairly and unnecessarily maligned and accused of producing a food product that did not exist, a product that critics unfairly labeled ‘pink slime,’” Smith said in a statement.

ABC’s Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila, as well as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and several others, are also named in the lawsuit.

Judge Recuses Himself From ‘Pink Slime’ Lawsuit, Citing Ties to ABC News

Judge Lawrence L. Piersol has recused himself from the billion-dollar defamation lawsuit against ABC because his daughter-in-law is a producer on “Good Morning America,” the AP reports.

South Dakota-based Beef Products, Inc. is suing ABC News for $1.2 billion for the network’s reports on its finely-textured beef products, referred to as “pink slime.” Diane Sawyer, Jim Avila and David Kerley were all named defendants in the lawsuit, which ABC filed a motion to dismiss last month.

The case has been reassigned to Chief Judge Karen Schreier.

ABC News Sued Over ‘Pink Slime’ Reports

ABC News, and anchor Diane Sawyer, have been named in a defamation lawsuit filed by Beef Products Inc. (BPI).

The Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based meat processor is seeking $1.2 billion in damages for roughly 200 “false and misleading and defamatory” statements about the product officially known as lean, finely textured beef, but has been refered to as “pink slime.”

ABC’s reporting “caused consumers to believe that our lean beef is not beef at all — that it’s an unhealthy pink slime, unsafe for public consumption, and that somehow it got hidden in the meat,” said Dan Webb, an attorney for BPI.

The 257-page lawsuit cites 11 TV reports and 14 online reports between March 7 and April 3, 2012. In addition to Sawyer, ABC correspondents Jim Avila and David Kerley are also named as defendants, as is a former Dept. of Agriculture microbiologist who coined the term “pink slime” in 2002. He was the “whistleblower” featured in ABC’s reports.

“The lawsuit is without merit,” says ABC News SVP Jeffrey Schneider, adding, “We will contest it vigorously.”

Watch Avila’s report from March 7, after the jump…

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Martha Raddatz Presented Fred Friendly First Amendment Award

ABC’s Martha Raddatz is presented the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award in New York City

Martha Raddatz has been in worse rooms, in worse countries, on military bases and battlefields.

Today, ABC’s senior foreign affairs correspondent graced the gilded dining room at the 19th century Metropolitan Club on New York’s 5th Avenue and was presented with the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award by Quinnipiac University.

Ruth Friendly, the widow of the legendary CBS newsman for whom the award is named, described Raddatz as “fearless.” The impossibly humble Raddatz said, in fact, she was “filled with fear” as she took the stage.

“The courageous ones are the people I have covered during my career,” said Raddatz accepting the award before a crowd of more than 100 guests, including her ABC News colleagues Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, previous Friendly recipient Charlie Gibson, George Stephanopoulos, Bob Woodruff, Terry Moran, David Kerley and Jim Avila.

Raddatz talked about the courage of Staff Sgt. Sal Guinta, the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War. “Sal Guinta does not think he is courageous or a hero. He does not think he did anything that others wouldn’t do in the same situation.”

And the bravery of her own colleagues, “far too many of whom have lost their lives or been badly wounded doing so,” as Raddatz looked toward table four. “And I still can’t be in the same room with

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ABC News Hires Reena Ninan from Fox News

ABC News president Ben Sherwood is changing up a couple of correspondent assignments, while bringing on a new reporter: Reena Ninan, late of Fox News.

Ninan is joining the Washington, DC bureau after covering the Middle East for FNC. Ninan spent much of the past year reporting on  the Arab Spring from Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank.

Also announced, Jim Avila, who has been based in New York, is relocating to Washington, D.C. where he will be Senior National Correspondent overseeing a new investigative unit focused on food, drug, airline and environmental safety issues. He’ll continue to contribute to “20/20” specializing in law and justice. Avila was the lead reporter on the death of Michael Jackson and the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray. And Lisa Stark, who has been covering federal policy, including transportation and the FDA, will now cover lifestyle stories for ABC News.

Morning Show Interviews with Conrad Murray, and a Juror Who Found Him Guilty

NBC News will air Savannah Guthrie‘s pre-verdict interview with Dr. Conrad Murray tomorrow and Friday on the “Today” show. Murray, who is in custody following the guilty verdict in the death of Michael Jackson, sat down with Guthrie a few weeks ago.

NBC News used excerpts of the interview on “Nightly News” and “Today” following the verdict.

And this morning on “Good Morning America”, ABC’s Jim Avila spoke with juror Debbie Franklin. “We absolutely agree that he did not mean to do this,” Franklin says. “We don’t think he even had a motive to do this. We think it was something that he was doing that was careless that got out of hand.”

Conrad Murray Guilty of Manslaughter in Michael Jackson Death

> Breaking: At 4:17pmET, the verdict was read. Conrad Murray is guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of pop star Michael Jackson.

The CBS News special report ran until 4:22pm, ABC’s until 4:23 and NBC’s and FOX’s until 4:24pm. Fox News also ended coverage, anchored by Shepard Smith, at 4:24 when Eric Bolling picked up on “Your World” filling in for Neil Cavuto. HLN, MSNBC and CNN continued through the 4pmET hour.

> Earlier: The networks are preparing a special reports for the verdict in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial of Dr. Conrad Murray. Around 2:05pmET, the the jury announced it had reached a verdict which will be read around 4pmET.

ABC News will produce a special report with Diane Sawyer anchoring from New York. Brian Williams Actually now Harry Smith will anchor a network special report for NBC stations and Scott Pelley will anchor a special for CBS stations. Bill Hemmer will anchor for FOX stations.

The cable news channels will all be carrying the verdict. CNN International will simulcast CNN/US beginning at 3:30pmET. HLN will be without the services of trial queen Nancy Grace who is rehearsing for tonight’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Jane Velez Mitchell will lead coverage on HLN and fill in on “Nancy Grace” tonight, which has been the arrangement on previous Monday and Tuesday nights during the ABC dancing competition.

From Southern Storms to Royal Wedding, a Friday Night of News

The broadcast networks devoted a significant chunk of time last night to news programs. CBS produced an hour on the Royal Wedding at 8pm, while NBC and ABC went head-to-head with two hour specials from 9-11pm. The first hour of “Dateline” was anchored by Brian Williams and was devoted almost entirely to the storms in the south, while ABC’s 2-hour “20/20″ was devoted almost entirely to the Royal Wedding.

“20/20″ drew 6.7 million total viewers and a 1.6 rating/5 share in A18-49. The Barbara Walters-hosted special drew 1.8 million more viewers than “Dateline” and by +33% in the A18-49 demo.

“20/20′s” second hour, which included a report from Jim Avila in storm-ravaged Alabama, saw its audience grow in Total Viewers and was #1 at 10pm in the A18-49 demo.

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