The Ticker: Okwu/Hoye, Hayes, Swenson

By Alex Weprin 

  • Al Jazeera America has hired Michael Okwu and Sarah Hoye as correspondents for “America Tonight.” You can read more about both after the jump.

  • Variety‘s Brian Lowry reviews “The Politics of Power,” an MSNBC documentary hosted by Chris Hayes about the politics of climate change. He appreciates its message, but finds the lack of dissenting voices disappointing.

  • Helen Swenson, senior VP of live programming for The Weather Channel, is leaving the company to take a job in local TV. Swenson joined Weather as VP of live programming in May, 2009.


Three-Time Emmy Award-Winner and Former CNN Reporter Are Latest Newest Additions to Al Jazeera America’s Flagship Show

NEW YORK – (August 13, 2013) – Al Jazeera America, the new American news channel that will launch on Aug. 20, today announced that former NBC correspondent Michael Okwu and former CNN all-platform journalist Sarah Hoye are the newest correspondents for America Tonight, the channel’s daily prime time news and current affairs magazine program.

Okwu and Hoye join the four previously announced America Tonight correspondents – Sheila MacVicar, Adam May, Lori Jane Gilha, Christof Putzel – and Special Correspondent Soledad O’Brien. Joie Chen will be the host of the program.

“Sarah and Michael both have proven track records in standout journalism,” said Kim Bondy, senior executive producer for America Tonight. “They’ve covered stories from the Philadelphia abortion doctor trial to the death of Pope John Paul II. They understand what stories matter to the American people and we’re lucky to have them on our team.”

Okwu spent five years in Los Angeles with NBC News where he appeared regularly on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and MSNBC, with wide-ranging reports from North America, Europe and Asia. He also filed special reports for Dateline. Most recently, Okwu contributed long-form stories and hosted acclaimed interview specials for the award-winning news magazine SoCal Connected.

The winner of three Emmys and Cable Ace Awards, Okwu began his career at CNN where he was both a regular on the prime time news magazine CNN Newsstand and a reporter at the United Nations. At the U.N. he reported extensively on diplomatic negotiations in the run-up to both Gulf wars. Okwu is a recipient of five LA Press Awards and a features prize from the National Association of Black Journalists.

“The launch of Al Jazeera America is an exciting time for the U.S. media industry,” said Okwu. “America Tonight intends to exemplify the Al Jazeera America brand: to be fact-based, unbiased and committed to covering real issues substantively, compellingly and with humanity. I’m looking forward to it.”

Hoye comes to Al Jazeera America from CNN where she served as a correspondent in Philadelphia. Prior to CNN she worked as a reporter for The Tampa Tribune and WFLA News Channel 8 in Florida, The Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in Wisconsin.

In 2009 Hoye was a Knight Digital Media Fellow at the Ohio State University. The National Association of Black Journalists named her Emerging Journalist of The Year in 2008. Hoye also was part of CNN’s Peabody Award-winning team for its coverage of the BP Gulf Oil Spill in 2011.

“It’s always been my goal to report on the stories Americans want to hear,” said Hoye. “Joining Al Jazeera America is a great opportunity for me to lend a voice to those who need it most.”

Al Jazeera America, which will launch on August 20, is the new U.S. news channel that will provide both domestic and international news for American audiences. It will be headquartered in New York City with bureaus in 12 cities across the United States.

Visit Al Jazeera America online at for the latest updates.You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @AJAM ( and join the conversation using #AlJazeeraAmerica.