|The week sees the return of the Miami Open and for the first time, Tennis Channel will serve as the exclusive home of the Miami Open, taking viewers from first ball on March 23 to championship point April 4. The channel serves up live, daylong match blocks and all-night encores for a near round-the-clock Miami Open channel for fans. In addition, Tennis Channel is also partnering with parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports networks to offer daily, exclusive matches that will not be seen on Tennis Channel. Cynopsis Sports caught up with Ken Solomon, President of the Tennis Channel to discuss the new partnership, the pandemic and the future of its telecasts.
Solomon on what’s new for Miami Open coverage: To begin with, America won’t have to change the channel during the middle and championship weekends this year – they can watch it all in one place on Tennis Channel from day one of the tournament Tuesday and stay with us all the way through the final trophy presentations. We’re going to treat this historic event like one of the four majors we cover. We’ll have our Tennis Channel Live desk there on site; Martina Navratilova – who won the singles, doubles and mixed championships at the inaugural event in 1985 – will be in the booth for us; and we’ll have her fellow Hall of Famers Jim Courier, Lindsay Davenport and Andy Roddick on the team too; alongside our amazing group of great announcers, reporters and analysts who know tennis like no one’s business. Every match will be live on Tennis Channel or our streaming platform Tennis Channel Plus, and all of them will be available on-demand to streamers. Basically, from March 23 to April 4 we’re going to become a 24-hour Miami Open channel; nothing else will be on our air. We’re also partnering with the regional sports networks of our parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group to offer two exclusive matches to their viewers during the first part of the tournament, which will put more of this event on TV than ever before. And Sinclair’s broadcast affiliates will also promote the tournament to their audiences.
On if Miami will serve as a template: Yes, it is definitely a template for what viewers can expect from us from now on. The new ATP rights agreement gives us exclusivity for the North American 1000-level events, which were the only men’s or women’s tour competitions we didn’t have complete live coverage of until this year. We’ve put our Tennis Channel Live coverage desks at North American 1000s and 500s before, like Indian Wells, Cincinnati and Washington, but now we’re going to do this at all of them around the world, all year long. In a way we’re basically accelerating the template that we’ve created in the U.S. and at majors in the opposite direction, internationally year-round. For the first time in history, what viewers see in Miami they’re also going to see in the world’s biggest competitions outside the country, in places like Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, Shanghai, Toronto and Paris. These events haven’t had on-site desks from their broadcast partners before, and what it’s going to do is bring breakthrough continuity to the way viewers enjoy the sport. They’re going to see the same Tennis Channel desk and coverage style at all of these events as well as the four majors. It will be seamless throughout the year and, we believe, grow the game’s fanbase even faster than before.
On adjusting during the pandemic: It’s funny – if you look at our network in the past few weeks, even before the Miami Open gets going this week, things look pretty normal, like they did before the pandemic forced everyone to adjust. Two weeks ago we showed 72-straight hours of live matches at tournaments across five continents and six countries, so we’ve been able to keep it going. That said, we did have to pivot and be flexible like everyone else when our sport shut down last year. We developed and implemented new programming and production techniques, and safety protocols required more than a little extra work when we were on site at these tournaments, which allowed tennis to be the first sport back on TV. But, other than the safety protocols, much of what we introduced we’d already been planning or thinking about – like Tennis Channel International, our new studio in L.A. or some of the production methods. As with most things, The pandemic just dramatically accelerated the evolution. It feels like we did more last year than in the past five. There is still of course some uncertainty with the tennis schedule, but it’s greatly limited so far this year vs. last year, and I would say Tennis Channel’s seven-eighths of the way there.
On the affect of legalized gambling: This has enormous implications for Tennis Channel, and we’ve been preparing for it for years. First, most are surprised to learn that tennis is the second-most gambled-upon sport in the world. In fact, the U.S. is the only country where people haven’t had the wide access to play along the way people around the world do. But for us the emphasis isn’t so much about wagering as it is the engagement derived from mobile games, money or not. There are so many new opportunities for fans to engage with tennis through wagering or gaming, and all research points to more gambling activity when people are watching a sport on TV, and broader audiences when they can bet. As effectively the only “rolled up” TV-based platform for a single sport, we broadcast and stream well in excess of 90% of all the televised tennis in the United States. Gambling and gaming add entertainment value to tennis and, most importantly, attract new fans by opening the funnel at the top, bringing more people into our sport, which helps everyone. Our parent company Sinclair has been laser focused on the space and formed new partnerships, including with Bally Sports. We are very much a part of that strategy and have also had the benefit of innumerable multiyear conversations with virtually every top global gaming house.
The 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship opened hot with Turner Sports and CBS Sports reporting that Thursday night’s First Four coverage notched a gross audience of 7.6 million viewers consuming the games across TBS, truTV, NCAA March Madness Live and TV Everywhere platforms. Viewership for TBS and truTV’s live game coverage was up 36% vs. 2019’s comparable telecasts, with an average of 7.3 million viewers based on Nielsen Fast Nationals with the telecasts generating an increase of 24% over the previous record audience in 2014. Additional records include UCLA/Michigan State on TBS becoming the most-watched First Four game since the format was introduced in 2011, with an average of three million viewers. Second Round coverage runs today starting at noon and beginning with Oregon/Iowa on CBS.
WWE announced that Hulk Hogan and Titus O’Neil will host WrestleMania, covering the two-night event at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay on April 10 and 11. The two-night event will stream live exclusively on Peacock at 8p in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
Showtime is preparing a Bellator blitz ahead of the MMA promotion’s launch on the channel on April 2. with BELLATOR MMA 255: Pitbull vs. Sanchez 2 followed by two consecutive Friday nights of live championship MMA fight action. In anticipation of the launch, the channel will showcase a collection of BELLATOR specials and fight replays across its distribution platforms to set the stage for the April 2 live event featuring the BELLATOR MMA Featherweight World Grand Prix Semifinal, as well as the beginning of the BELLATOR MMA Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix set to begin on Friday, April 9 and Friday, April 16. In addition, SHOWTIME Sports will present a pair of highlight-driven specials hosted by Morning Kombat’s Brian Campbell and Luke Thomas to preview the Pitbull vs. Sanchez featherweight semifinal and the start of the eight-man Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix tournament.
Meanwhile, the Professional Fighters League partnered with Sugar23 for a next-gen studio that will focus on non-live MMA content and entertainment opportunities for PFL’s star MMA fighters. Sugar23 and PFL Studios will partner on the development, creation, and distribution of new non-live MMA content associated with the league, fighters, and brand. The new content collaboration will include both long and short-form content, created and produced for multiple channels and platforms.
Tomorrow! Don’t miss the Esports Business Summit University which runs March 23-24, and team up with colleagues throughout the industry as you take on challenges as well as other teams from EBSU. The 2-day virtual conference focused on the business of collegiate esports. We’ll go inside topics such as sponsorships, scholarships, recruitment, funding, and so much more. Hear from Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Beasley, the West Coast Conference, HyperX, CSL Esports, EGF, Barnes & Noble Collegiate, Learfield IMG, Skillshot Media, WWSEF/NASEF, Mountain West Conference, BoomTV/AVGL, NIRSA, NACE, FACEIT, Nerd Street Gamers, Twitch and more! It’s going to be an incredible learning opportunity and we hope you’ll join us. Register now!
The postponed Tokyo Olympics will not allow foreign spectators from attending the Games, with the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government, the Tokyo government, the International Paralympic Committee, and local organizers announcing the decision. Officials noted that the risk was too great to admit ticket holders from overseas during a pandemic, according to the AP. “In order to give clarity to ticket holders living overseas and to enable them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, the parties on the Japanese side have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to enter into Japan at the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the Tokyo organizing committee said in a statement.
Congrats to veteran sportscaster Beth Mowins, who made history again on Saturday when she became the first woman to call play by play for the Cubs. Mowins, who called Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Colorado Rockies, will be working games all year as part of the new Cubs broadcasting team for Marquee Network.
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|SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
ESPN is teaming with indie pop trio AJR to make everyone “Way Less Sad,” for its baseball campaign. Ahead of MLB Opening Day, ESPN launched its latest “Give Us Baseball” creative campaign featuring the song with the track set to serve as ESPN’s MLB anthem for Opening Day and for the first half of the Sunday Night Baseball season. The creative campaign features Ronald Acuña Jr., Mike Trout, Fernado Tatís Jr. and Mookie Betts, as well as user generated content highlighting baseball fans of all ages. Additionally, the spot features voiceover artist Chinasa Ogbuagu narrating.
Manchester United signed a new five-year agreement with the global technology company TeamViewer as its principal shirt partner. The partnership will begin with the 2021/2022 season. Richard Arnold, Managing Director, Manchester United, said: “We are tremendously proud to be establishing this partnership with one of the most exciting and dynamic global software companies. The ability to connect and collaborate has never been more important to the world and our community of 1.1 billion fans and followers. We are looking forward to working with TeamViewer to bring to life our vision for a partnership built on smarter ways of connecting people and businesses.”
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
ESPN reports that the 2021 ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by Allstate, Acura and McDonald’s collected 16.2 million brackets. At the peak period of entries shortly before the start of the first game today, fans registered more than 15,000 brackets per minute.
Manchester City is teaming with Socios.com to launch the Manchester City $CITY Fan Token, allowing club fans around the world to will be able to use $CITY Fan Tokens to access VIP rewards, Club promotions, games, AR-enabled features and voting rights in certain binding and non-binding Club polls on Socios.com.
The American Cornhole League named DraftKings as the “Official Sports Betting Partner of the American Cornhole League.” As the ACL Johnsonville Cornhole Championships progress, the sports technology and entertainment company will offer a variety of free-to-play pools nationally and the industry’s first regulated sports betting on professional cornhole. Select ACL events will also feature DraftKings odds and lines via a live ticker for audiences tuning into the competitions. The partnership also includes certain marketing rights including the use of ACL trademarks and logos, footage and photography and on-site branding at events (including center court signage for all broadcasts).
Betway inked a deal to become the official sports betting partner of the Miami Open. The bookmaker will see its brand presented courtside and digitally for the two-week event, which takes place at Miami Garden’s Hard Rock Stadium.
DAZN is picking up WePlay’s new Ultimate Fighting League and will now carry the league across more than 200 countries and territories on its platform. Season 1 of the slate begins on March 25, held and broadcast from the WePlay Esports Arena Kyiv and showcasing competitions in Mortal Kombat 11, SOULCALIBUR VI, and Tekken 7. The deal with DAZN will span three Esports seasons, each of which will take place this year. “We’re excited about our partnership with WePlay, bringing a top tier gaming tournament to DAZN subscribers around the world. As Esports continues to see exponential growth globally, DAZN is well-placed to host this exciting form of entertainment with a footprint in 200+ countries and territories around the world,” said Joe Markowski, EVP at DAZN.
Garena unveiled the Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore, dangling a $2,000,000 prize pool and taking place in Singapore in May 2021. The inaugural Free Fire World Series 2019 Rio was watched by more than 2 million concurrent online viewers at its peak. This year’s event will see Play-ins begin on May 22 and the Finals on May 29 with 22 teams from across 14 regions competing for the title.
Electronic Arts revealed details for the premiere of EA SPORTS “FIFA Face-Off,” a new two-part live competition game show that pits celebrities, top EA SPORTS FIFA professionals and influencers, as well as four contestants from the EA SPORTS FIFA community. The series continues on March 26 at 12:30p on EA SPORTS’ FIFA Twitch and EA SPORTS YouTube channel. Competitors include Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Trevor Noah, Becky G, and Nicky Jam. “Castro 1021” hosts the competitive gaming entertainment event.
Hot Pockets signed on as a partner for NRG, noting that “the cultural tie between Hot Pockets and gaming is undeniable, so partnering with a premier esports organization was a natural fit for us.”
Game Gym and Events DC are launching the Mid-Atlantic Esports Conference, hosting competitions and other esports programs for colleges and universities in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Twelve schools are planning to participate in the inaugural spring 2021 season, and competitions will begin this month for three different games: League of Legends, Rocket League, and Overwatch and will include: Catholic University of America, George Mason University, Hood College, Howard Community College, Marymount University, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Northern Virginia Community College, Old Dominion University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Shenandoah University and Virginia Commonwealth University.
|On this Day
1979: NHL votes to accept WHA teams Oilers, Jets, Nordiques and Whalers.
IN THE KNOW
Martina Navratilova won 21 doubles Majors titles with which partner? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which brand featured Bo Jackson as the centerpiece of its “Bo Knows” campaign? Answer: Nike. Kudos: Jackie Mahon-Freelance/NY; Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; John Lappas/Playfly Home Team Sports/NY; Tony Kobylinski-Professional Fighters League/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Roger Furman-Sports Marketing Communications/Greentown; Mike May-R2 Innovative Technologies/Wellington; Christian Matthews-Washington Football Team/DC; Dory Petsrillo-CoxReps/Dallas; Travis Wacker-ESPN Chicago, Good Karma Brands/Chicago; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Jack Simmons-US Army Reserve/LA; Larry Hutchings/San Luis Obispo; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Dominick Latorre- Sinclair Broadcasting Group/Simi Valley
COORDINATOR, BRAND MARKETING
CROWN MEDIA FAMILY NETWORKS
Responsible for supporting the implementation of advertising campaigns, marketing partnerships, promotions, sweepstakes, experiential events, creative development & email marketing initiatives. Min 1yr of marketing exp within the entertainment industry. Full info HERE (4/4)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER APM STUDIOS >>
AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP/ ST PAUL, NYC, LA, REMOTE: Lead production of APM Studios’ existing tentpole franchises, create and manage budgets and lead recruitment and development of senior staff, including hosts when applicable. 10 years’ relevant experience in content development and audio production, including 3-5 years at management/supervisory level required. Full info HERE (4/4)
FREELANCE ANALYST, CONTENT & BRAND INSIGHTS >>
MTV ENTERTAINMENT GROUP/NYC/NY: Implementation and analysis of owned & syndicated research strategy for Scripted, Comedic & Original Movie content. Monitor, interpret and compile findings from various research sources and disseminate it to key partners. Experience with qualitative and quantitative research techniques required. Full info HERE (4/4)
FREELANCE MANAGER, CONSUMER INSIGHTS ANALYTICS >>
MTV ENTERTAINMENT GROUP/NYC/NY: Analyze marketing efforts, determining promotional planning effectiveness, and providing insights to inform future marketing campaigns. Set up, track, pull and analyze data on multi-platform marketing and promotional planning campaigns and initiatives. 3-5 years of related experience (TV ratings and Nielsen measurement currency) required. Full info HERE (4/4)
DIRECTOR, CONTENT INSIGHTS >>
MTV ENTERTAINMENT GROUP/NYC/NY: Conceptualize and conduct proprietary quantitative and qualitative studies focused on targeted audience needs as well as more general cultural trends. Improve multi-platform performance of key franchises; 7+ years of related research experience, including Marketing, Creative and Content Research required. Full info HERE (4/4)
THE PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA/NYC/NY: Develop events, series, festivals, exhibits that are topical, culturally relevant, impactful and inclusive. In depth knowledge of history and current trends to conduct research and generate weekly reports. 8+ years managerial experience of a content collection in a research library, archive, museum, or related setting. Full info HERE (4/2)
DIGITAL MEDIA PLANNER >>
BLUE PLATE MEDIA SERVICES/ SUMMIT NJ: Day-to-day planning, executing and management of Digital and Social Media campaigns. Evaluate digital media, social platforms and advertising products and manage the RFP process. Strong ability to use and interpret analytical data and arrive at sound conclusions. 5+ years Digital and Social Media marketing experience required. Full info HERE (4/2)
VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING & PARTNER INSIGHTS >>
ViacomCBS/NY, NY: Partner and liaise with senior sales management on brand strategy and positioning. Measure the efficiency of traditional and non-traditional advertising campaigns and author and present consumer-focused research on brands, generations, trend and categories. 10+ years’ experience in media or consumer research required. Full info HERE (4/2)
DIRECTOR, DIGITAL SCHEDULING >>
PBS DISTRIBUTION/ARLINGTON VA: Lead PBSd’s digital scheduling function to support our growing distribution business across VOD, streaming and educational platforms by ensuring accurate, on-time content launches. Direct day-to-day activities of the scheduling team and execute on content release plans. 7-10 years’ experience in Content Scheduling/Programming required. Full info HERE (3/31)
SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER, MEDIA & LABOR ECONOMICS >>
SAG-AFTRA/NY or LA: Conduct financial statement and operating analyses of publicly-held companies. Research, analyze and identify the implications for internal clients. Comprehensive understanding of micro- and macro-economics principles and have an understanding and awareness of worker rights impacting SAG-AFTRA members. Full info HERE (3/31)
PROJECT MANAGER, CREATIVE MARKETING CAMPAIGNS >>
ViacomCBS/NY/CA/REMOTE: Lead and track multiple creative projects and timelines simultaneously, work with agencies and marketing teams to assess initial requests for information, project parameters and priority scheduling. Significant experience working in production management/digital marketing/creative agency and/or professional services/consulting required. Full in HERE (3/31)
TEMP COORDINATOR, ON AIR >>
SCH/GSN/SM: 1+ yrs. w/ traffic exp. is a plus, communicating, scheduling, data entry, hands on coordination, log changes/revised promo scheduling/run logs and reports/ensure correct promo elements etc. Team player with strong attention to detail and strong time management. Full info HERE (3/29)
EXCEL QUICK TIP >>
MY SOFTWARE TUTOR: Add the current date – Ctrl + ; (Windows & Mac). Add the current time – Ctrl + Shift + ; (Windows) or Command + ; (Mac). Want to learn more shortcuts? MST offers three levels of real-time training in a safe, supportive environment. Use promo code CYNOPSIS20 to unlock a 20% savings. Full info HERE. (3/29)
DIRECTOR OF CONTENT DEVELOPMENT & PRODUCTION >>
APM STUDIOS/ST PAUL MN: Develop and create innovative, high quality content. Set editorial vision and brand voice for APM Studios’ new podcasts and their product development across platforms and formats. Lead collaborations with external media and distribution partners. 10+ years’ experience in media, 4+ years management experience required. Full info HERE (3/29)
DIRECTOR, PROGRAMMATIC SALES (CTV) >>
ORIGIN MEDIA/REMOTE: Striking partnerships with DSPs, agencies, brands, and agency trading desks to integrate with Origin’s programmatic solutions. Sourcing and managing PMP/PG business and adopt existing clients and grow their relationships. 5+ years of programmatic advertising video sales experience. CTV experience is a plus. Full info HERE (3/28)
OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE (DIGITAL/CTV) >>
ORIGIN MEDIA/REMOTE: Oversee administrative tasks, work with Sales to assist in the production, maintenance, and delivery of sales materials and RFPs from advertisers. Manage contracts with in-house legal counsel and organize and manage all company contracts and documents. 1-3 years of experience in sales or operations and familiarity with the Google Suite of products. Full info HERE (3/28)
HEAD OF GLOBAL PROCUREMENT >>
NEP GROUP/EASTERN US-LONDON: Establish a global purchasing community and build procurement capability to ensure a consistent approach to negotiations with key suppliers. Design and implement a global procurement strategy to add value and efficiency to the organization. and Understand global needs and lead negotiations. Fifteen years of industry-related experience in procurement required. Full info HERE (3/28)
SALES PLANNER >>
MARATHON VENTURE/NYC: Serve as the primary point of contact for our media partners, responsible for exceeding expectations by effectively anticipating and solving problems. Review client orders for accuracy and resolve discrepancies. 2-3 years related experience and strong organizational skills and attention to detail required. Full info HERE (3/27)
SENIOR MANAGER OF MARKETING OPERATIONS >>
ITVS/San Francisco: Optimize project management processes to create sustainable, scalable standards and best practices that improve cross-functional collaboration and long-range planning. Set, manage, and execute our audience development workflows. Identify, plan, and execute effective, “right-size” workflows. 5-7 years of professional experience in project management and communications required. Full info HERE (3/27)
MANAGER, DIGITAL CONTENT PROGRAMMING >>
FILMRISE/BROOKLYN NY: Manage clients for various emerging OTT verticals including but not limited to US Hispanic and Latin American/Brazilian platforms. Coordinate delivery of new content and looking for new ways to optimize revenue. Experience working in international digital content programming/ sales; familiarity with various platforms and Spanish language fluency required. Full info HERE (3/27)
INTEGRATED MARKETING MANAGER >>
REVOLT TV/LOS ANGELES: Managing branded content projects, ensuring the flawless execution of sold concepts through to delivery across media platforms. Tracks projects through all phases; from requests through approvals and distribution. 3+ years in creative/digital project manager role at a related production house/agency. Full info HERE (3/26)
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SCRIPTED SALES & CO-PRODUCTIONS >>
BBC AMERICA/LOS ANGELES CA: Managing sales and co-production activity with designated clients across both television and digital. Keep in constant contact with all key US buyers pitching upcoming programmes –for both TV and SVOD sales. 7+ years of experience at executive level within programming and/or distribution. In-depth understanding of the UK television industry, in particular the BBC. Full info HERE (3/26)
SALES ASSISTANT – NATIONAL >>
UPtv/NYC, NY: Provide full support to all accounts for the Ad Sales team, assist Account Executives, Sales Planner and Pricing Inventory in managing day-to-day Ad sales responsibilities. Communicate daily with Traffic Department, and create and maintain quarterly flighting grid. B.A. in Communication or equivalent from a four-year college; prior experience a plus. Full info HERE (3/26)
COUNSEL, BUSINESS & LEGAL AFFAIRS >>
MLB NETWORK/SECAUCUS, NJ: Strong knowledge and understanding of legal and business issues related to media, strong negotiation and drafting skills and a solid understanding of business issues. Draft and/or negotiate a wide variety of agreements and contract summary/tracking/management. A minimum of two years of legal experience in a media and/or entertainment transactional environment either in-house or with a law firm is required. Full info HERE (3/25)
VICE PRESIDENT, GENERAL MANAGER >>
NEXSTAR INC., KRON4-MYNETWORK/SAN FRANCISCO: Leading broadcast operational teams with sales-driven organizations, developing locally originated content, and commitment to community service. Track record of high performance in developing revenue across multiple platforms. Minimum of five years of general management experience at a commercial broadcast television station with accompanying digital assets required. Full info HERE (3/25)
COMMUNITY MANAGER >>
JUKIN MEDIA/LOS ANGELES: Set overall community strategy as it relates to supporting brand initiatives, structure implementation of community-facing strategy across FailArmy, communicate on behalf of the brand across multiple channels. Min 3 yrs experience in brand communications, strong expertise in and a passion for current and emerging social and OTT platforms. Full info HERE (3/25)
DIRECTOR, CURRENT PROGRAMMING >>
JUKIN MEDIA/LOS ANGELES: Responsible for overseeing, guiding and elevating all programming for each of the Streaming TV channels, Works with VP Streaming to establish long-term creative programming strategy to achieve business unit KPIs. Plan and budget to help develop, help commission, and acquire programming for Jukin streaming channels. 7+ years in creative production for digital/streaming/television required. Full info HERE (3/24)
DIGITAL MANAGING DIRECTOR >>
SPECTRUM NETWORKS/NYC: Lead the talented and resourceful journalists, manage digital teams in multiple locations and editorial content; encourage innovation and unique story telling techniques. Impeccable integrity and ability to support our writers and editors in making tough journalistic calls in fast-moving news cycles. Full info HERE (3/24)