Ticker: CNN Welcomes a Trio of New Correspondents, John Avlon Gets the New York Treatment

By Mark Mwachiro 

Montage image of CNN New Hires

Top of the Ticker: CNN is welcoming three new hires with Brian Abel, Leigh Waldman, and Victoria Rubadiri joining the network. Abel and Waldman are coming aboard as CNN Newsource correspondents based in Washington, D.C. and New York, respectively. Meanwhile,  Rubadiri joins CNN International for a newly created role on its Connecting Africa multiplatform series. She will also be part of the Kenya-based newsgathering operations.

Crossing the Aisle: Since departing CNN in February, political analyst John Avlon has pursued a for-real career in politics, looking to flip a Long Island congressional seat from Red to Blue. A just-published New York magazine profile offers a deep dive into Avlon’s journalism career and upstart campaign, which comes with a heavyweight donor list that includes media luminaries like Barry DillerRichard Plepler and James Murdoch. “As a journalist who’s been chronicling the crazies for a long time and has covered two Trump cycles, this is one of those times in American history where I think every generation needs to step up and defend democracy,” Avlon remarks in the story. “And that’s what I’m trying to do in my own way.”

Profile picture of CNN's John Avlon

(Courtesy CNN)


Executive Shuffle: NewsNation’s Michael Corn and Cherie Grzech have earned new programming roles at the network. As the newly-named president of programming and specials, Corn will direct his energies toward expanding flagship programs like Morning in America and Cuomo. And as president and managing editor of news and politics, Grzech will oversee the network’s suite of news and political series, including NewsNation Live and The Hill, as well leading network operations and managing all news staff.

Image of NewsNation executives Michael Corn and Cherie Grzech

(Courtesy NewsNation)

Faulkner’s On the Case: Fresh off the 10th anniversary of Outnumbered, Fox News’ Harris Faulkner hosts the Fox Nation true crime series, Surviving a Serial Killer. The three-part saga chronicles the 1984 abduction of then-17-year-old Lisa McVey by infamous serial killer Bobby Joe Long. “When a survivor talks, I listen,” Faulkner remarked in a statement that accompanied the announcement of the series.

CEOs Assemble!: Move over Tony Stark. A recent NewFront CEO panel brought together leaders from six major media organizations, including CNN’s Mark Thompson, NBCUniversal News Group’s Cesar Conde, BBC News’ Deborah Turness, The New York Times’ Meredith Kopit Levien, IAB’s David Cohen and NPR’s Katherine Maher. Per Deadline, the group addressed such topics as the polarization of the news business and the perceived threats posed by AI. Conde succinctly captured the turbulence their industry is facing, saying, “I think we are in an era where misinformation and disinformation is proliferating… [and] being exacerbated by so many technologies.”

What’s So Funny?: This isn’t a joke—PBS NewsHour co-anchor Geoff Bennett has struck a deal with HarperCollins to pen a book about the history of Black comedy in America. The tome will reach back to vaudevillian times and also take readers behind the scenes of signature ’90s sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters. “Black comedians have often served as both entertainers and activists—harnessing humor as a vehicle for social commentary and a means of reclaiming a sense of agency,” Bennett tells TVNewser. “The book will explore, decade by decade, how comedy has served as a tool for social change, while sharing fascinating, fun and little-known details about the remarkable individuals who have helped shape American life.”

Geoff Bennett is writing a new book exploring Black comedy in America. (Courtesy PBS NewsHour)

Scholarship Opportunity: High school seniors Diana Jachman and Nathaniel King are the 2024 recipients of Fox News Media’s Dr. Charles Krauthammer Memorial Scholarship, named after the journalist and longtime Fox News contributor who died in 2018. Jachman is the daughter of Thomas Jachman and King is the son of Scott King, field photographers for Fox News’ Atlanta and Dallas bureaus, respectively. The winners will be featured on Wednesday’s edition of Special Report with Bret Baier at 6 p.m. ET.