Jess O’Neill Returns To KOAT As News Director

Hearst promotes him from assistant news director at its WESH Orlando, Fla., to oversee operations at its Albuquerque, N.M., ABC affiliate.

Hearst-owned ABC affiliate KOAT Albuquerque, N.M., today appointed Jess O’Neill news director, effective June 22.

This move marks a return to KOAT for O’Neill — a former senior producer for four years — who during that time received multiple New Mexico Broadcaster Association awards. O’Neill has spent the past five years at Hearst’s WESH Orlando, Fla., as assistant news director and managing editor.

“We are thrilled to have Jess return to KOAT as our news director. He brings a high level of journalistic excellence and years of experience to his new position,” said Lori Waldon, president and general manager of KOAT. “And because Jess has previously worked at KOAT, he has solid knowledge of our region and the issues that are important to our New Mexico viewers.”

O’Neill has been on the front lines of news coverage for more than two decades, including Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub massacre, the Casey Anthony trial, and the Trayvon Martin shooting. O’Neill received multiple Regional Emmy Awards for covering breaking news while at WESH.

Prior to working in Orlando, he produced newscasts for CNN in Atlanta and he was an executive producer at stations in southern California.

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