In late December, The Young Turks launched a crowdfunding campaign with a fundraising goal of $2 million, which would go toward funding new hires to deepen TYT’s investigative coverage. The campaign kicked off on Dec. 23, 2016 with a 6-hour telethon that had amassed about $400,000 at roughly the halfway point. When the campaign would reach $500,000, TYT promised to announce the first of its hires.
That point came five days later, when the first of TYT’s new hires, Nomiki Konst and Shaun King, were announced. Since then the donations and hires continued to grow. Michael Tracey and Ryan Grim were added right before the inauguration, and this months, with more than $1.5 million raised, TYT announced a trio of new hires: Jonathan Larsen, Dylan Ratigan and David Sirota.
Jonathan Larsen joins as managing editor, a role he will originate for the organization. In this role, he will be responsible for shaping the programming created by both TYT’s investigative journalists and its commentators. Larsen has an extensive list of production management experience under his belt, having served in production roles at MSNBC as executive producer for Up with Chris Hayes and senior producer for Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and as executive producer on Air America. He had been senior executive producer, politics, at Al Jazeera America before the outlet closed permanently in 2016.
Ratigan will join as a commentator. During his journalism career, Ratigan had been a host at CNBC and the global managing editor of corporate finance at Bloomberg. His most recent news job had been as host of his own show on MSNBC, which he left in 2012 for a different career entirely, working on environmental and anti-poverty projects.
Sirota will serve as a part-time news commentator, splitting his time between TYT and the International Business Times, where he is senior editor for investigations. He had previously served as a radio host in Denver and a syndicated columnist, and before that had been a political operative and press secretary for Bernie Sanders. Sirota had recently been slated to head up David Brock’s True Blue Media, a new organization framed as the liberal “answer to Breitbart,” but ultimately backed out citing a lack of resources “for the kind of independent, nonpartisan journalism I want to continue to do and that is needed to execute on the ambitious editorial strategy that we agreed on.”
This trio of hires won’t be the last for TYT. When the organization reaches its $2 million goal, more staff announcements will come.