WGN America Sets ‘News Nation’ Personnel

Nexstar’s primetime national newscast launches Sept. 1. Anchors Joe Donlon and Marni Hughes, breaking news anchor Rob Nelson and meteorologist Albert Ramon will be drawing from Nexstar’s team of 5,400 journalists in 110 newsrooms across the U.S.

WGN AmericaNexstar Media Group’s cable network reaching 75 million television households across the country, today announced the anchor teams and correspondents for its live three-hour primetime national newscast, News Nation, which debuts Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The team is led by veteran journalists and weekday anchors, Joe Donlon and Marni Hughes, breaking news anchor Rob Nelson and chief meteorologist Albert Ramon, who collectively bring nearly 80 years of experience in television news to their roles and have covered everything from Presidential elections to hurricanes and the current coronavirus pandemic.

The weekend News Nation team will be led by anchors Rudabeh Shahbazi and Nichole Berlie, breaking news anchor Aaron Nolan and meteorologist Gerard Jebaily.

News Nation will air daily from 8 to 11 p.m. ET, and will draw on the local, regional and national expertise of Nexstar’s 5,400 journalists in 110 local newsrooms across the country. The broadcast will deliver news reporting that Nexstar describes as “fact-based, impactful, educational and unbiased.” In addition to the live nightly newscast, News Nation’s team of reporters and producers will deliver news 24 hours a day online through News Nation’s soon-to-be-launched mobile app, NewsNationNow.

“Our on-air anchors and reporters, as well as those guiding the off-camera news-gathering process, are award-winning journalists who understand the importance of being objective,” said Sean Compton, executive vice president of WGN America. “They reflect the diversity of our country and will be the backbone of News Nation, as WGN America begins charting a new course in television news, designed for the millions of viewers across the U.S. who want their news to be accurate, fair and without opinion.”

News Nation is overseen by Jennifer Lyons, a media executive with 30 years of newsgathering and production experience, who is VP of news for WGN America.

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We’re adding more than 130 News Nation staff members to the 5,400 Nexstar journalists already reporting from local communities across the U.S.,” Lyons said. “We have assembled extraordinary teams both in front of and behind the cameras. They are true journalists coming together with a clear mission: Your News, Your Nation. I think you’re going to learn so much about our country through them.”

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“Now more than ever, viewers rely on television news to stay informed about everything from the latest pandemic developments to the reopening of the economy and the upcoming election,” said Perry Sook, Nexstar Media Group president-CEO. “We have an opportunity, a mission, and the resources nationwide to bring Americans breaking news stories and live coverage delivered by reporters who know the local community and can provide unbiased coverage of events from coast to coast and deep in the heartland.

“Nexstar has the largest newsgathering organization in the country, with 5,400 journalists in newsrooms throughout the U.S. and Sean and Jennifer have curated an exceptional team for News Nation. These journalists have broad experience, strong records of journalistic excellence, and their local perspectives will create a new fact-based and unbiased national news platform.

“We will be presenting news in a way that is free of any particular point of view as we debut News Nation on Sept. 1 and we are confident that there are more Americans than ever who are seeking just that.”

The Monday through Friday anchor team:

  • Joe Donlon: For the past two years, he was co-anchor of WGN-TV Chicago’s 9 p.m. news. Prior to joining WGN-TV, Donlon was the main anchor at KGW-TV in Portland, Ore., for 21 years. His reporting has taken him as far away as Kuwait, just days after the end of Operation Desert Storm, and he has covered political conventions, impeachments, the Olympics, and more.
  • Marni Hughes: A television journalist for more than 20 years, she joins News Nation from KCPQ Seattle, where she anchored the evening news for eight years. At KCPQ she launched a regular health news segment focused on wellness and lifestyle and was recognized with an Emmy for a series of stories about families struggling to raise autistic children.
  • Rob Nelson: With more than 20 years of experience as a journalist, he has been a correspondent for Good Morning America, World News Tonight and Nightline. He began his career as a print reporter for New Orleans’ daily Times-Picayune. Nelson covered the arrest of legendary Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, the murder case against Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots and, live from South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s release from the hospital just weeks before the icon’s death.
  • Albert Ramon: He was chief meteorologist at KVUE Austin, Texas, for the last 10 years. Ramon started his television career in 2005, after joining the weather staff at KZTV Corpus Christi, Texas, where he ultimately became chief meteorologist. He has covered severe weather throughout his career and has earned the Seal of Approval from both the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association.
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The Saturday/Sunday anchor team:

  • Rudabeh Shahbazi: A three-time Emmy award winning anchor and reporter, she has covered news in markets across the country, as well as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Cuba. Most recently she was the main anchor at CBS Miami for five years, where she anchored live continuous coverage of the Pulse nightclub, the Parkland school shootings, and Hurricanes Matthew, Irma, and Maria.
  • Nichole Berlie: She joins News Nation from Boston, where she was a weekend evening co-anchor and general assignment reporter for WCVB. She joined WCVB in 2016, from KSDK in St. Louis where she was a weekday morning anchor. Prior to that, she spent five years as a weekday morning anchor at KETV Omaha, Neb.
  • Aaron Nolan: He has served as a reporter/anchor at Nexstar television stations for 15 years, and was most recently the co-anchor at KARK Little Rock, Ark. He also served as the anchor of Nexstar’s NewsfeedNow, a daily streaming digital news interactive program. He will play an integral role in development of WGN America.com and the digital footprint for News Nation. Nolan has won numerous awards for his journalism, including an Edward R. Murrow regional award for Innovation for NewsfeedNow.
  • Gerard Jebaily: He has been an on-air reporter in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Albany, Ga.; and most recently at KSHB Kansas City, Mo., and his passion for meteorology began at the age of six, when Hurricane Hugo devastated his home state of South Carolina. He built his own personal storm chasing vehicle and in over 20 years of chasing, witnessed and documented a variety of significant weather events across the central and southern United States, including record flooding, hurricanes, and massive tornadoes.
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WGN America also announced the hiring of several regional correspondents who will staff News Nation news bureaus at strategic locations across the country.

  • Tom Negovan, New York Bureau Correspondent: He is a WGN-TV News veteran, with 15 years at the station covering political conventions, campaigns, hurricanes, the Boston bombings, riots in Ferguson, and the mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and Orlando. He worked as an embedded correspondent in both Iraq and Afghanistan, along the way picking up 19 Emmy Awards and nominations.
  • Nancy Loo, Los Angeles Bureau Correspondent: Raised in Northern California, she joins News Nation from WGN-TV News, where she was an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor. She brings an extensive background of international reporting, having worked as an anchor and reporter in Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York City, and Chicago.
  • Markie Martin, Dallas Bureau Correspondent: Formerly the weekday morning news anchor for KOCO Oklahoma City, she and her team were recognized as the Best Morning Newscast by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters in 2019 and 2018. She was on air and in the field for the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, and covered its aftermath. She also covered the Oklahoma teacher walkout and ceremonies connected to the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • Brian Entin, Miami Bureau Correspondent: An Emmy Award-winning reporter for WSVN Miami, he covered several major hurricanes, including Dorian in the Bahamas, Irma in the Florida Keys, and the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In 2018, he extensively covered the Parkland school shooting and was the first reporter to obtain video of the shooter attacking deputies in jail.

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