NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com Make a Slew of Hires

By Alex Weprin 

NBC News Digital has made a slew of personnel announcements today, affecting both NBCNews.com and MSNBC.com, which will launch this Summer.

NBCNews.com has named Hilary Frey editorial director for news, while MSNBC.com has named Dafna Linzer managing editor. Frey was most recently editor-in-chief of Yahoo! News, while Linzer was a senior investigative reporter at ProPublica.

In addition, NBCNews.com has promoted Dick Belsky to Managing Editor of News. There are a number of other additions to both sites, all of them noted after the jump.


Note from MSNBC.com VP and executive editor Richard Wolffe:

From: MSNBC Communications (NBCUniversal)
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 3:18 PM
To: @MSNBC Everyone

From Richard Wolffe, Vice President and Executive Editor of MSNBC.com:

As we get closer to the launch of the brand-new MSNBC.com, I want to update everyone on the outstanding journalists we have added to our team.

Dafna Linzer has just joined us as Managing Editor. An award-winning journalist, Dafna was senior investigative reporter at ProPublica, where she most recently broke news on President Obama’s dismal record on presidential pardons. Previously, Dafna was national security reporter at The Washington Post, where she led the pack on the futile hunt for WMD in Iraq. As managing editor, Dafna will work with reporters, contributors and editors on site content. She joins Sam Go, who is now director of msnbc.com, on the leadership team.

Our central group of reporters is a great resource for both our digital space and our TV shows.

Geoff Cowley joined us earlier this year as our health reporter, covering everything from Obamacare to anti-obesity. A distinguished journalist, Geoff was health editor at Newsweek for the best part of two decades, winning a shelf full of awards for his coverage of HIV/AIDS. Geoff left Newsweek to become associate NYC health commissioner, and he later worked for Planned Parenthood.

Trymaine Lee joined late last year as our national reporter, with a special focus on the untold stories of poverty, violence and race in our cities and rural communities. Trymaine was previously a reporter at The New York Times and joined us from the Huffington Post, where he was widely credited with raising the Trayvon Martin story to national prominence. Trymaine was part of the reporting team that won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize at the Times-Picayune in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Zach Roth is a national reporter with a special focus on politics. He was previously a senior reporter at Yahoo News, where he earned many plaudits for his innovative and moving work on the long-term jobless. His past work for the Washington Monthly, on the problems of the patent system, was honored with a place in the congressional record. He has also written for The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Daily Beast, Slate, and Salon, among other outlets.

We continue to add reporters to our show teams, writing both for the show pages and the broader site on specialist issues.

Meredith Clark joined the “UP” and “MHP” teams last week from Rolling Stone, where she worked closely with Jane Timm. Jane recently joined Drew Katchen on the “Morning Jo”e team and has made a huge contribution to Mika’s presence online. Aliyah Frumin at “Hardball,” Morgan Whitaker at “PoliticsNation,” and Erin Delmore at “Jansing & Co.” and “Andrea Mitchell Reports” have all blazed a trail in coverage for their shows and across the site. Ned Resnikoff has brought expert labor coverage to “The Ed Show.” And Claire Kim, alongside Sarah Muller, has helped “The Last Word” to build substantial traffic to its show page.

The social and community team under Farra Ungar, our senior manager of social media, is also adding strength as we near launch. Colin Jones joined as social media editor last week, with a focus on honing the voice and presence of MSNBC across platforms. He joins us from the Daily News where he rose to the position of social media editor in just two years.

Whether you’re looking for original reporting, contributors on air, or support for extending your shows into the social media space, we’re here to help.

Feel free to email/call if you have any questions, concerns or comments.

All best,

NBCNews.com press release:


First wave of new hires since split with Microsoft represents focus on original storytelling and investigative reporting

NEW YORK, NY– March 18, 2013– NBCNews.com Executive Editor Gregory Gittrich announced today a group of new hires joining the online news operation’s editorial and management teams, now based in New York City. This announcement marks the first round of new hires since NBC News acquired full ownership of its digital properties from Microsoft in July of last year. The group includes veteran reporters and editors as well as rising talent from leading outlets. The journalists will allow NBCNews.com to focus on original storytelling and investigative reporting while also strengthening its already best-in-class coverage of breaking news.

Hillary Frey has been named Editorial Director of News, Danielle Friedman has been named Senior Editor, Tracy Connor and Erin McClam have been named Senior Writers, Rachel Rique has been named Senior Planning Editor, Hasani Gittens and Megan Friedman have been named News Editors, and Ben Popken and Matthew DeLuca have been named staff writers. Along with the new additions, Gittrich promoted Dick Belsky to Managing Editor of News and announced that former NBC News campaign embed reporters Carrie Dann and Andrew Rafferty have joined as staff writers.

“NBCNews.com is built on a legacy of outstanding and compelling journalism. Our goal is to harness this advantage while at the same time developing new digital tools for narrative storytelling, investigative reporting and breaking news coverage,” Gittrich said. “These new hires have distinguished themselves as smart, talented journalists. They add great expertise and energy to our deep bench of world-class reporters, writers and editors.”

“We are focusing on original coverage and are committed to making sure NBCNews.com is a home for outstanding journalists. Today’s announcement is a reflection of that and just the beginning of what’s ahead,” said Gittrich, who joined NBCNews.com in October.

Hillary Frey was previously editor-in-chief of Yahoo! News. In her new role at NBCNews.com, she will direct the digital operation’s national, international and investigative coverage. Prior to Yahoo!, she was managing editor of AdWeek, overseeing the redesign and relaunch of AdWeek.com as well as the magazine. Earlier in her career, she ran Politico’s media and society coverage, and oversaw The New York Observer’s media and culture desks.

Danielle Friedman joins NBCNews.com from Newsweek and The Daily Beast where she was News Director for Beast TV and Special Editorial Projects. In her nearly four years at The Daily Beast, she also served as a senior editor, homepage editor and a reporter.

Tracy Connor was previously a senior writer and editor at the New York Daily News, breaking and covering major stories for The News’ print editions and website for 10 years. She previously was a staff writer at the New York Post and United Press International.

Erin McClam was a top stories editor at The Associated Press and managed the wire’s financial markets team. In his 12 years at The AP, he also served as a federal courts reporter and national writer.

Rachel Rique was previously operations director at vente-privee USA, the joint venture owned by American Express and vente-privee, the progenitor of the online flash sales business model in Europe. She also was editorial chief of staff for Patch.com, managing editor of NBC’s 10 local news websites and a photo editor at The Associated Press and AOL.

Hasani Gittens joins NBCNews.com from The Daily where he was a news editor. He previously was managing editor of NBCNewYork.com and also was an editor, rewriteman and reporter at the New York Post for seven years.

Megan Friedman was homepage editor of TIME.com, curating the coverage across the website and writing for TIME magazine’s print and digital platforms.

Ben Popken previously led Consumerist.com, first for Gawker Media and then as the site’s managing editor for Consumer Reports.

Matthew DeLuca was a reporter/researcher at Newsweek & The Daily Beast. He previously interned with investigative reporter Wayne Barrett.

About NBC News Digital Group
NBC News Digital Group is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compelling, diverse and visually engaging stories on your platform of choice. NBC News Digital features world-class brands including NBCNews.com, tv.msnbc.com, TODAY.com, theGrio.com, NBCLatino.com, NBCPolitics.com, EducationNation.com, NightlyNews.com, Meet the Press, Rock Center, Dateline, Newsvine, Breaking News and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. We provide something for every news consumer with our comprehensive offerings that deliver the best in breaking news, segments from your favorite NBC News shows, live video coverage, original journalism, lifestyle features, commentary and local updates.