Articles about "Vivian Schiller"

After Schiller exit, an odd tension at Twitter

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Vivian Schiller’s exit could signal tension for Twitter and journalists: Adam Sharp, who is in charge of government partnerships, will return to heading news partnerships as well. (Re/code) | “That puts him in an oddly conflicted position of advising government officials who are seeking to influence public opinion and journalists who are trying to get past that manipulation and explain what they see as the real story.” (NYT)
  2. NBC wanted Jon Stewart for “Meet the Press”: “They were ready to back the Brink’s truck up,” a source tells Gabriel Sherman. (New York) | “The revelation also underscored just how seriously [NBC News President Deborah] Turness thought about blowing up “Meet the Press,” which has fallen from first to third place in the Sunday morning political show ratings.” (CNN) | “If it’s Sunday, it’s your moment of zen.” (@chucktodd)
  3. Readers have always lied about what kinds of stories they like: “We were always ‘Facebook readers’ long before there was a Facebook.” (The Atlantic) | RELATED: Kara Swisher says, “I still think the old media hates the Internet and hopes it will go away.” (Vanity Fair)
  4. Still missing ONA? Here are a bunch of resources to help you remember: Videos. Blog posts. A photo of Poynter’s Ren LaForme with Cookie Monster. (ONA)
  5. Lots of shaved pates at The Denver Post these days: About a dozen people “shaved their heads over the weekend in solidarity with a colleague whose chic blonde hair was stolen by chemo,” Dana Coffield reports. (The Denver Post)
  6. National Press Club defends holding off-the-record events: The “press club’s director of business development, Brian Taylor, defended the defense contractors’ decision to ban press coverage even while benefiting from the prestige of the National Press Club,” Dana Milbank writes. “Sadly, the National Press Club, once a temple to the free flow of information, has been compelled to adopt the rule that drives so much else in Washington: pay to play.” (WP)
  7. NYC school police harass reporters: School safety officers tell journalists to leave “almost every time we cover a school,” Lindsey Christ reports. One broke the lensguard on an NY1 camera and put her hat over its lens. Another refused to ID himself, saying, “Stop it. Stop it, OK? Stop it. That’s who I am.” During a transaction Wednesday, “the safety officers called the local precinct,” Christ reports. “Those officers were able to explain to school safety that public sidewalks are public.” (NY1)
  8. Who is running the Atlantic’s Ello account? “Whoever is running the account is doing a bang-up job.” (The Atlantic) | Some of us are still waiting for an invite. (Sniff)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: Health workers in Liberia tend to Ebola patients in safety suits on the front of The International New York Times. (Via Kiosko)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Frédéric Michel will be a consultant for Sky Italia. He is Telefónica’s Europe director of public affairs and communication. (The Guardian) | Bob Mason is now vice president of hosting at NewsCycle Solutions. Previously, he was chief technology officer at Digital First Media. (Poynter) | Gregg Doyel is now a sports columnist at The Indianapolis Star. Previously, he was a columnist at (The Indianapolis Star) | Mike Stamm is now a senior design technologist at The Washington Post. Previously, he led design technology at The Wall Street Journal. Jessie Tseng is an interaction designer at The Washington Post. Previously, she was a user experience designer at Adaptly. (The Washington Post) | Sheena Lyonnais will be a freelance writer. Previously, she was managing editor of Yonge Street Media. (Yonge Street Media) | Susi Park is general manager of advertising for GQ. Previously, she was assistant general manager of advertising at Wired. (Email) | Abe Cytryn is now chief technology officer for Magzter. Previously, he was chief technology officer at Time Inc. (Email) | Job of the day: The Washington Post is looking for a religion writer. Get your résumés in! (The Washington Post) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more


Vivian Schiller out at Twitter

Vivian Schiller is no longer Twitter’s head of news. She announced her departure from the post Wednesday night.

Schiller was named to the role in October of last year. She was NPR’s CEO and chief digital officer at NBC before that.

Adam Sharp, who was head of government and nonprofits, will return to his role as the lead for news partnerships as well, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to Poynter.

Schiller’s second tweet says Chloe Sladden and Ali Rowghani brought her to the company; both left Twitter earlier this year.

The reorg is “part of a larger consolidation across the media division by its new head Katie Jacobs Stanton,” Kara Swisher reports. Schiller “has creating a framework for Twitter’s partnership with news organizations that is now used by our partner managers the world over,” Stanton writes in a memo Swisher obtained. Read more


Journalists offer different perspectives on what to do with audience data

Younger staff in The Atlantic newsroom have a knack for sourcing their stories through social media, and getting them read that way, too, J.J. Gould, executive editor at, said Monday morning at the Poynter Institute.

Gould was part of a panel, moderated by Vivian Schiller, head of news at Twitter, at the Future of News Audiences conference (live blog here).

Those younger staff, Gould said, have a sense for “how to play this emerging understanding of what readers are looking for with mission of The Atlantic.”

But when you ask most newsrooms what they’re doing with information about their audiences, “the majority of them will tell you very little,” said Raju Narisetti, senior vice president of strategy at News Corp. Read more

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Tom Curley, Alberto Ibarg?en, Jon Klein, Vivian Schiller

Twitter hires Vivian Schiller as head of news

Twitter and Vivian Schiller announced Thursday that she would be the service’s head of news.



The question of who would land in the job has fascinated media people for months. In early October, AllThingsD’s Mike Isaac and Kara Swisher said Schiller was “a lock” for the job. Read more


EveryBlock could still be sold, says Schiller, after abrupt closing of hyperlocal pioneer

EveryBlock, the hyperlocal news and community discussion site that abruptly closed last week, may be resurrected if NBC can find a suitable buyer.

NBC News Chief Digital Officer Vivian Schiller told me Monday that the network is continuing to talk with potential buyers who had been in touch before the shutdown, and that more have come forward since last week.

I asked Schiller about the prospects for a sale during a broader discussion about NBC’s handling of the EveryBlock shutdown last Thursday, which surprised users and observers.

EveryBlock co-founder Adrian Holovaty, who left the company in August, told me in a phone interview that he was upset with how it ended.

“I am not upset about the concept of a company shutting down EveryBlock because it’s not strategically aligned with them. That’s totally fine — I understand if a corporate giant doesn’t want to have a neighborhood news site, that’s totally cool,” Holovaty said. “It’s how it was done that’s the problem.”

Holovaty said he wished NBC had done more to pursue a sale of EveryBlock before resorting to shutting it down. He said he knew of at least one potential buyer (which he would not identify to me) who expressed an interest and was in touch with NBC but was not invited to make an offer.

He also said that since the shutdown last week, many companies have contacted him to say they would have been interested in buying EveryBlock if they knew it was for sale. Holovaty also said he would have been happy to help seek out a buyer if NBC had asked him for help.

Shorter version: This didn’t have to happen, Holovaty said.

“News media in Chicago would love to have EveryBlock. It’s a force of nature in Chicago. It’s a big deal. In other cities, it didn’t get a ton of traction, but in Chicago a lot of people used it,” Holovaty said.

For example, after the shutdown announcement, The Chicago Tribune immediately placed a teaser near the top of its homepage trying to capture that audience — “Miss EveryBlock? Use our crime maps.”

Schiller said she couldn’t share details of any possible sale negotiations, but that “we did look into a number of different options prior to last week, and we are continuing to look into options very seriously. … We still have live conversations.”

Schiller continued:

I respect Adrian so much that it’s painful to me that he is upset and he is angry at me personally. But he’s not with the organization anymore, so he hasn’t been involved with those conversations. He resigned, and I know he still feels passionately about it, as well he should, but he’s not privy to all those conversations. All I can tell you is there were conversations prior to the shutdown, and there are still very active conversations to this day.

I asked whether those conversations seemed at all likely to lead to a sale of EveryBlock. “It’s hard to say at this point,” Schiller said. “I think that would be a wonderful outcome. I remain hopeful, because I’m a hopeful person. But anything beyond that is speculation.”

Other issues

Holovaty also raised the question of what would happen to the approximately 10 members of the EveryBlock staff who lost their jobs last week. “They’re my crew,” he said, “like family.”

Schiller said in a interview with Street Fight last week that “We’re working with them individually to see if there are other roles for them inside [NBC Universal].”

Holovaty said based on his contacts among the EveryBlock staff, that wasn’t true. “They have not worked with them individually to see if there are other roles. Put another way: If NBCU was helping the EveryBlock team find jobs, that’s news to the EveryBlock team.”

Schiller told me that when she met with the staff last Monday to break the news she also said she personally would be glad to provided recommendations to other employers or to see if they could land elsewhere within NBC.

“I can’t guarantee that people will have jobs in the company … It has to be the right fit. But there are at least three people who I or a member of my team have been in contact with. Nobody is placed yet, but this whole situation is only a few working days old,” she said.

Holovaty also questioned why the site had to be closed so abruptly and completely. Why couldn’t the community of users who were heavily engaged in the site have some advance notice or access to archived data?

“Just look at the way the site went down — it was a complete surprise to the users. You wake up Thursday morning, check the site, and there’s nothing there anymore. There’s no archives, there’s no downloadable data,”  he said. “The people working for EveryBlock are some of the best techies in Chicago. They’re world-class. They know how to run a website correctly. If it were up to them … they would have treated the community right.”

Schiller said the decision to shut down the site all at once was discussed with “senior members” of the EveryBlock team in advance. She didn’t go into detail about those discussions, but said: “I understand that different people could take a different point of view, but all I can tell you is that’s what we decided was best.” Read more


Does new NPR CEO Gary Knell deliver what member stations want?

To say that Gary Knell will face challenges as NPR’s new CEO and president is an understatement.

He’ll assume leadership over an organization that, in the past year, lost its CEO, senior vice president for development and senior vice president for news. He’ll have to deal with a serious threat to federal funding and make himself known to the public radio folks who had never heard of him before he was named their leader. 

Earlier this year, I talked with the heads of some member stations about what they wanted in NPR’s next CEO. I talked with them again this week to hear whether Knell fits what they wanted.

Embracing change while also upholding NPR’s values, history

When I spoke with him in March, John Weatherford, chief operating officer of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, said he hoped the new CEO would embrace change and also have an understanding of “the basics, framework and cultural heritage of NPR.”

Knell has a background in public television but will inevitably have to learn more about the inner workings of NPR. In a phone interview, Knell said he plans to interact with NPR’s journalists to gain a deeper understanding of the organization.

“I think what I want to learn from them is their perspective on NPR, how they work the role of local stations in contributing to the body of work that gets distributed nationally and how they view the digital distribution options — which have been welcomed or thrust upon them, depending on how you look at it,” Knell said. “I want to give them the resources to continue to do what they do best — which is produce great journalism.”

Knell, who received his undergraduate degree in journalism and political science, is an adviser to some media-affiliated organizations, including WFUV Radio in New York and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications. But this will be the first time he’s worked full-time in a newsroom.

Knell’s lack of newsroom experience, particularly in radio, caught WBUR’s Sam Fleming by surprise. “I think his name came out of the blue for most of us in the public media world,” said Fleming, director of news and programming. “I’ve never heard his name mentioned before. Those who work at stations that have public TV stations — maybe they knew of him because of his public TV record. But for those of us who only work in radio, which includes virtually everyone at NPR, my guess is that they didn’t know him.”

Knell’s two most recent predecessors — Vivian Schiller and Kevin Klose — had both worked in traditional newsrooms. But Klose’s predecessor, Delano Lewis, didn’t have newsroom experience.

Torey Malatia, CEO of WBEZ-Chicago, isn’t too worried.

“I don’t know if a lot is resting on the CEO’s ability to talk journalism. I think it’s more important that one leads the organization in such a way that it continues to attract and keep great journalists there,” Malatia said by phone. “He’s closer than some CEOs have been to the field. It’s not like we’re talking about someone who’s in charge of a production. This is someone who’s administering a whole company.”

Knell, who spoke at a 2009 National Press Club luncheon with Sesame Street’s Grover, said working for Sesame Workshop wasn’t all fun and games. “People might think it’s a puppet show, but it’s actually a very serious undertaking,” said Knell, who’s been referred to as “Big Bird’s boss.” The Sesame Workshop has done prime-time programming on topics such as economic insecurity and childhood obesity — programming that Knell considers journalistic.

Refocusing NPR, emphasizing hard news

WBUR’s Fleming called the controversies from the past year “destabilizing.” He said he hoped the new CEO would restore a sense of calm and place an emphasis on quality journalism.

Fleming isn’t worried about Knell’s lack of first-hand journalism experience but does wonder whether he’ll advocate for hard news. Fleming took note when Knell said he wanted to figure out “a game plan to make sure that 10 years from now, NPR is in a sustainable place to do the journalism and cultural content that it does.”

“I’m more worried about the news part of NPR” than the cultural content, Fleming said by phone. “I’m just hoping that he doesn’t lose what I think was and has been a good focus for NPR, which is the news and the journalism.”

Calling hard news “the core of the operation,” Knell told me he sees value in both hard-hitting news and arts-related content, such as NPR’s musical programs.

Addressing arguments for — and against — federal funding

WBEZ’s Malatia said he thinks that in the recent past, NPR has focused on fundraising to a fault.

“The way fundraising works in nonprofits is, essentially the mission drives monetary stability, not the other way around,” Malatia told me this week, reiterating a point he made earlier in the year. “It seemed to me that there was a great deal of time in the past where I felt that there wasn’t as much attention on today’s product and tomorrow’s product as there was on monetization.”

It would be hard not to focus on fundraising, given that NPR and its member stations are at risk of losing federal dollars. Former vice president for development Ron Schiller had suggested that NPR would be “better off in the long run” without federal funding. Jeff Jarvis and Jay Rosen argued that NPR should renounce federal funds so it can rid itself of political strings and pressure.

Knell doesn’t see it that way, though. He considers federal funding essential to the survival of NPR’s smaller stations. “In some places, with closed newspapers and commercial radio abandoning the newsrooms that they used to have, the only place to get local news is your public radio station,” Knell said. “I think we have to make that case.”

Knell plans to draw on his fundraising experience and “work like heck” to promote federal funding.

“I’m going to make the case for it but also make sure that we have a strong foundation in our other sources of funding,” he said. “We’re fortunate to do a lot of great work on the foundation side, and on the corporate underwriting side, and I think we need to make sure that we have plans in place.”

Drawing a connection with member stations

Fleming said that ideally, NPR’s CEO would visit some member stations and get to know the people who lead them.

“Presumably, [Knell will] go and come out and meet us and find out what our needs are and how we fit into the game plan and the future,” Fleming said. “And he’ll put that into his thinking in terms of what the long-term strategy is. Since he came from a program that worked with PBS and had PBS stations as part of his interaction, maybe that’ll make it easier for him to understand what that relationship might be. But public radio is different from public TV.”

Knell said that by nature of working in public broadcasting, he already knows many people from NPR’s member stations.

“My mailbox is filled with a lot of nice notes from many station managers. I’m no stranger to the system,” Knell said. “I think the local station power within this framework of public radio is a huge asset, especially when you’re trying to make the case for public funding.”

Knell plans to visit several of the member stations so he can learn what issues they’re facing.

Malatia, who had never heard of Knell before he was named CEO, doesn’t expect him to visit WBEZ. “It would be nice to sit down and have a cup of coffee, but if that never happens, it’s OK. If the product is the best it can be, if the standards remain high and the work is excellent and the staff at National Public Radio and everyone is doing really fine work, then I can’t think of anything that would be more important to us than that.”

Re-evaluating NPR’s governance, choosing new leaders

Malatia said he hoped NPR’s next CEO would re-evaluate the organization’s governance structure, which has been criticized in recent years.

It’s too soon to tell if any changes will be made to NPR’s governance structure, and we still don’t know who will fill Ron Schiller’s and Ellen Weiss’ positions. NPR decided months ago to delay the searches for these positions until after the new CEO came on board. Knell still needs time to figure out what he’s looking for in NPR’s next senior vice president of news and senior vice president for development.

“That’ll be one of the first orders of business on the news side, but first I need to spend more time in the newsroom,” he said. “I haven’t really had a chance at all to analyze the current staff and what our needs might be.”

Given everything that’s happened at NPR throughout the past year, Knell hopes to promote unity within the organization.

“There shouldn’t be a corporate NPR and a newsroom NPR,” he said. “I think it’s important, as I told the staff, that there’s one NPR.” Read more

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NPR names ‘Big Bird’s boss’ as its new president, CEO; Sesame Street exec replaces Vivian Schiller

NPR | The New York Times | The Washington Post
After months of searching for a top executive to succeed Vivian Schiller, NPR announced Sunday that Gary Knell would become the news organization’s new president and CEO. Knell has been CEO of Sesame Workshop since 2000. The 57-year-old fills the spot vacated by Schiller, who tweeted Sunday:

New @npr CEO Gary Knell is an experienced leader, a good man and a friend. Best shot to liberate pubradio from untenable reliance on fed $$

Schiller resigned as CEO in March after the firing of Juan Williams was mishandled under her leadership, and fundraiser Ron Schiller was captured on videotape commenting on conservatives and the Tea Party movement. Ron Schiller’s position remains open, as does Ellen Weiss’s, the newsroom vice president who resigned over the Williams firing.

NPR’s David Folkenflik reports Knell hopes to “calm the waters.”

Knell joined Twitter Sunday. His first tweet:

I’m thrilled to join NPR. This is media with a deeply held mission, compelling history and boundless future.

Knell told The New York Times’ Brian Stelter he wants NPR to thrive where others have failed:

“We have to figure out a game plan to make sure that 10 years from now, NPR is in a sustainable place to do the journalism and cultural content that it does, and that it does not find itself in the ash heap that so many newspapers have found themselves.”

Knell believes his Sesame experience will help NPR do that, as he told Folkenflik:

“I’ve learned how to master our way through a very competitive world out there, and one in which we have not lost our way and our mission, nor our qualitative edge,” Knell said in an interview Sunday evening.

Folkenflik, who says “at first blush, NPR might appear to be playing it safe by selecting a chief associated with Big Bird rather than the news business,” notes Knell’s political experience working with both Democrats and Republicans:

“I’m not naively walking into this,” he said. “I think obviously, [NPR has] been caught somewhat in the political crosshairs in Washington. Some of that is undeserved, I think. And what I would really like to see is depoliticizing NPR a little bit, so that it’s not caught in those crosshairs.” …

Knell said he would seek to increase funding for NPR’s journalism from governmental, corporate and foundation sources. Otherwise, he said, he wants to get out of the way of its journalists, whom he called “amazingly fabulous.”

“The point here is that it’s not about liberal or conservative. It’s about fairness,” Knell said. “We’ve got to make the case that we’re delivering a fair service — not only in the way we do our jobs but in the way we disseminate the news.”

NPR has been accused of bias and had its funding threatened in the last year.

Knell is taking a pay cut in his new job. The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi reports that Knell made $746,144 in 2009, with salary and additional compensation. His compensation at NPR will be “in line with” Schiller’s, who made $575,000 in 2010.

Knell, a father of four, has a blog, “Gary’s Blog: On the road with Big Bird’s Boss.” He starts at NPR on December 1. Read more

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Ex-NPR chief Schiller named NBC News chief digital officer

NBC Universal
Vivian Schiller steps into a new position at NBC News, and reports to NBC News president Steve Capus. She starts the job in mid-July. A release says:

Schiller will lead the digital strategy for both NBC News and MSNBC to ensure future growth and innovation. Her responsibilities include strategic oversight of the network’s digital extensions on the web and in mobile, interaction with the Joint Venture that oversees the digital network, as well as providing direction to the network’s new emerging properties such as and

Schiller was forced out as NPR chief executive in March after a series of debacles. She joined the radio network in January 2009, after managing day to day operations at for about three years. Schiller said in March that she planned to stay in journalism, and acknowledged that the controversy surrounding her last days at NPR was “very stressful.” She added that she felt an obligation to stay strong because she “didn’t want to fall into the caricature of what women under pressure would be like.” Read more

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‘The conditions are finally right to give newspaper paywalls a fair shake’

Austin American-Statesman
That’s what former NPR chief executive and ex-head of Vivian Schiller said at the 12th International Symposium on Online Journalism. “This is the first time I’ve felt this way, and possibly the first time I’ve said this in a public setting,” she said. “Back In 2007, that’s a generation ago in Internet time, I was at and a free content absolutist. That was the year my colleagues and I led the effort to end TimesSelect. …I was an anti-paywall zealot, and for good reason…..based on the conditions of that time. But times have changed.” || The full text of her speech is after the jump. Read more