NBC News Digital Beefing Up Staffing
NBC News is doubling down on digital. In a company memo sent today, Chris Berend, EVP of NBC News Digital, revealed the addition of 70 jobs to the division, spread across several departments. The 20% boost in staffing is part of the company’s efforts to expand the NBC News NOW streaming service into a 24-hour platform of live programming as early as this winter. The streaming service’s department alone will get about half of the new manpower.
“We recognize that it’s rare for digital media to be growing in this day and age and we’re excited about what we’re going to be able to build at NBC News with this significant investment,” Berend told TVNewsCheck in an email. He wrote in his memo that the organization’s “mission is to be the global leader in digital news,” and “[w]ith that in mind, we will be increasing our investment in NBC News Digital in 2020 … across our journalism, our products, our technology, and our business.”
In addition to the staffers, NBC News NOW will see enhanced investments in content distribution and “product enhancements,” the memo said, with a focus on “making it a driver of our daily video inventory across platforms.”
NBC’s general news programming team will “evolve,” with a centralization of their cover and distribution cadres, now “responsible for curating and alerting all text and video experiences for NBC News, MSNBC and, when it launches, the global news service.”
There will be added investment in the Video Operations group, to help with “technical and post-production functions with motion graphics and craft editing,” as well as in strategic content production, combining the mobile and OTT insights corps with the Today commerce platform, “to better serve audiences with memorable storytelling and advertisers with innovative solutions.”
Providing oversight of this growth, the News Digital Leadership Team will see expanded roles. Alongside Anna Magliocco, head of growth and operations; Saleem Malkana, head of product and design; and Kyri Sarantakos, chief technology officer, the team is also composed of Catherine Kim, the newly named global head of digital news, and Ashley Parrish, who was just appointed head of content development and Today Digital. Kim will be “responsible for the digital editorial efforts at NBC News, MSNBC and the upcoming global news service,” the memo says, while Parrish will “oversee our expanded custom content, commerce and Today efforts.”
“This growth comes with a need to focus what we offer audiences,” Berend added in the memo. “With a greater emphasis on daily news and custom content, our original news video efforts will center squarely on high-impact storytelling, seamlessly integrated with our feature reporting.”
The refocusing does mark the demise of NBC Left Field, the company’s digital video studio founded two years ago. About a dozen staffers from that department will be released at the end of the year, but will be able to apply for some of the new roles as early as tomorrow. Though the company says it will add staffing and resources to coverage of science, technology, and climate change, its MACH science and tech vertical, also launched in 2017, will cease production as well.