Fusion CEO: Keep Challenging the Conventional Wisdom

By Jordan Chariton 

isaac lee_304x200Fusion CEO Isaac Lee thanked his staff for a “big month” that included challenging Congress and reporting in-depth stories on everything from the CIA to transgender issues.

“Jorge [Ramos] was characteristically fearless in his pursuit of answers to hold those in power accountable for their actions—or in this case inaction,” Lee wrote in an email obtained by TVNewser, referencing tough questions Ramos asked House Speaker John Boehner in Washington, DC.

Lee also complimented anchor Alicia Menendez and her team for “elevating conversations surrounding cultural and social issues” through a recent interview with a transgender activist. “Alicia’s recent interview with Janet Mock generated headlines and provoked an important and respectful dialogue,” he said.

Lee’s full email to staff after the jump.

Hola Fusion-

It’s been a big month for Fusion on many fronts. I want to take a moment to share some highlights and to express my thanks for the hard and important work you’re doing.

I’m very proud of how Fusion has covered stories that are of the greatest importance to our viewers and to America as a whole, several making national headlines.

First was Jorge Ramos’ trip to DC to challenge Speaker John Boehner on his refusal to bring immigration legislation to a vote and to pose tough questions to Democratic leaders on the dramatic increase in deportations. Jorge was characteristically fearless in his pursuit of answers to hold those in power accountable for their actions — or in this case inaction.

On Tuesday night, Jorge, Dax, and their tireless team delivered a remarkable report from inside CIA headquarters providing an in-depth look at the state of the intelligence agency one-year after Edward Snowden revealed some of our country’s biggest intelligence secrets, jumpstarting a national conversation about privacy, homeland security and civil liberties. “Agents of Change” was the culmination of over six months of work by the AMERICA team.

Fusion’s expose on the Miami Gardens stop and frisk policy, led by Dan Lieberman and Alice Brennan, uncovered in glaring detail the kind of intense scrutiny that many of our neighbors live under every day. Many people were surprised to learn that more than half of all Miami Gardens residents have been stopped by police for no reason and that children as young as five years old were deemed “suspicious.”

With their reports our investigative team has set a high bar for integrity and innovation. The story uniquely combined sharp visuals and infographics, compelling videos, and interactive elements to drive record-breaking traffic and engagement online.

Investigative journalism that exposes injustice and shines a light on stories that otherwise would go untold continues to be a cornerstone of what we do at Fusion. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Fusion is also delivering on our promise to discuss and elevate conversations surrounding cultural and social issues that our young, diverse audience is interested in and cares deeply about.

For months Alicia Menendez, Claudia Pou and their team at AM Tonight have been doing incredible work to bring issues of equality to the forefront. Alicia’s recent interview with Janet Mock generated headlines and provoked an important and respectful dialogue. This week, for the first time ever, a transgender woman appeared on the cover of TIME magazine. This is an important moment for the equality movement in America, and we have been doing incredible work to drive that conversation.

Marijuana legalization is an issue of increasing relevance in many parts of the country and its a topic we’re covering from many angles. Ryan Nerz and the Fusion LIVE team of Mariana, Pedro, Yannis, and Javier have been engaging in thoughtful conversations about the use of marijuana among professional athletes who see it as an alternative to high doses of addictive painkillers. It has been great to see their reporting cited by outlets ranging from The Washington Post, New York Daily News, and Denver Post to Marijuana.com.

Our team has grown in important ways since we launched 7 months ago. We have welcomed nearly two dozen new and talented teammates since January, most recently Anna Holmes, Felix Salmon, Jorge Urrutia among them. An important part of our mission is to nurture talent and innovation, and these new additions will increase not only our ability to report the most important stories but to tell them in creative new ways.

Finally, I want to congratulate everyone who had a part in launching our incredible new soccer site — soccer.fusion.net. We have brought together some of the best editorial talent to cover the World Cup, which I know we are all eagerly anticipating in 6 short days. Hong and his team have created a terrific second-screen experience for soccer fans who want coverage infused with personality, irreverence and wit.

When we launched Fusion, we promised that our content would reflect our worldview — one that champions a smart, diverse, and inclusive America — and these are the kinds of stories that I am so proud to call our own.

Please keep pushing yourselves and each other to challenge the conventional wisdom and we can continue to achieve great things.