Fusion to Assign Reporters to Issues, Not Candidates

By Mark Joyella Comment

Fusion will take a unique approach to political coverage for the 2016 election, announcing plans Thursday to assign reporters not to candidates, but to specific issues. “We’ll cover the most important issues to our audience with passion, point of view, humor (where appropriate) and vast, vast quantities of energy,” said Fusion executive editor Hillary Frey in a memo outlining the network’s political coverage plans.

Fusion’s coverage will put Jorge Ramos in a lead role. “No candidate will have a chance of making it to the White House without talking to Jorge,” said Frey. Alicia Menendez, meanwhile, will play “a critical role across the board, tackling a range of issues and leading our efforts to get young people registered to vote.”

Fusion also announced Erin McClam will join the network as senior political editor. McClam comes to Fusion from NBC News.

Here is the full memo:

Hi all —

As Alexis and I mentioned during the Town Hall this summer and Isaac recently affirmed, the 2016 election is going to be a pivotal story for FUSION.

We know our audience has lost faith in institutions — be it politicians in Washington or traditional media orgs that focus on the horserace as opposed to issues that matter most to young people (i.e. when FOX News and CNN neglected to adequately address key issues like college affordability and student debt). So, during this campaign year, FUSION aims to be the voice of the New American majority — one that is young, diverse, and inclusive. We’ll cover the most important issues to our audience with passion, point of view, humor (where appropriate) and vast, vast quantities of energy.

At the core of FUSION’s daily editorial efforts will be our 2016 Supergroup, a team comprised of our talented reporters, producers, and correspondents who are already strong voices on certain areas of coverage — Mariana Atencio (Latino vote), Cristina Constantini (criminal justice reform + immigration), Rafa Fernandez (U.S./Mexico relations + immigration), Kashmir Hill (security), Nico Ibarguen (climate change + environment), Katie McDonough (reproductive rights), Collier Meyerson (structural racism + social justice), Miriti Murungi (social justice + culture), Jorge Rivas (LGBT issues + immigration), Danny Rivero (gun control), Felix Salmon (economy), Nando Vila (third party politics + campaign finance), and Rob Wile (college affordability, student loads + economy). Alicia Menendez will play a critical role across the board, tackling a range of issues and leading our efforts to get young people registered to vote. And with “No, You Shut Up!” focusing its attention of the election from a comedic perspective, Paul F. Tompkins will also be a key player.

In addition to covering core issues, members of FUSION’s team will fan out across the country at points over the next year to cover how the election is playing out on the ground in under-covered and underserved communities. Their stories will be shared with our audience across all our platforms ranging from Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine to our TV network and FUSION.net.

We will be adding more voices to our team, bringing in outside contributors to weigh in on additional subjects and issues. While those listed above are tasked with paying attention to certain topics — we welcome contributions from everyone at FUSION, so don’t feel shy about reaching out with any and all ideas.

I am also pleased to announce that Erin McClam (@ErinMcClam) is joining FUSION from NBC News as our Senior Political Editor. In his role, he’ll be overseeing and coordinating our day-to-day 2016 coverage across verticals, running news coverage during live events, and coordinating our national reporting project. Erin joins our stellar 2016 editorial team driven by Director of Elections Coverage Rebekah Dryden and “AMERICA” EP Dax Tejera. Please join me in welcoming Erin who starts Monday in the New York office.

Finally, it goes without saying, one of the most important members of our 2016 team will be Jorge Ramos. No candidate will have a chance of making it to the White House without talking to Jorge. (If you haven’t read William Finnegan’s New Yorker profile go do so now.) He keeps proving to audiences, in both English on FUSION and Spanish on Univision, that he’ll ask tough, probing questions of the men and women hoping to lead nations, here and abroad… just ask Donald Trump or Barack Obama.

Looking forward to an exciting (and entertaining) year ahead!

— Hillary

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