Jim Avila Moves To White House Beat For ABC/Univision

By Alex Weprin Comment

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.

I am pleased to share some news about our colleagues Matthew Dowd and Jim Avila.

As you know, Matthew is an integral member of our powerhouse political team. Again and again during the 2012 election cycle, his smart, independent and penetrating analysis proved invaluable for our audience on all platforms.

I’m delighted that Matthew is taking on a broader role at ABC News as an analyst and special correspondent on-air and across all platforms as well as a senior strategicadvisor on my team behind the scenes.

In his special correspondent role, Matthew will go beyond political news to explore uniquely American cultural, economic and spiritual trends. His common sense take on the American experience will be featured on “Good Morning America,” “World News,” “Nightline” and special editions of “This Week.”

And Matthew’s strategic and tactical insights will be helpful to all of us as we look to expand our reach and impact across all of our business.

I’m also pleased to let you know that our Senior National Correspondent Jim Avila is expanding his duties in our Washington bureau.

Jim will join our Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl at the White House where he will report for ABC News and later this year will serve as the first White Housecorrespondent for the ABC/Univision joint venture. In addition, he will lead the charge for ABC News on covering Hispanic America, immigration reform, education, politics and other issues vitally important to the Latino community, the fastest-growing segment of our population.

Jim’s reporting over the past year about food, drug, consumer, transportation, environmental andother regulatory issues has made a tangible difference in the lives of our viewers.

He also brought his incredible storytelling to the biggest law and justice stories around the country — most recently to coverage of the Penn State scandal, the death of Whitney Houston and the trial of Conrad Murray.

Jim will continue to contribute to 20/20 and I know he will bring his passion, creativity and drive to the White House for ABC News and the joint venture.

Leading our coverage from the White House, Jon Karl is off to an incredible start. I look forward to all the great journalism and scoops to come from this new dynamic duo.

Please join me in congratulating Matthew and Jim on their new roles.