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Al Ortiz Will Retire After 43 Years with CBS News

Ortiz has been with the network’s news for over four decades and has been the executive producer of the evening news broadcast on two occasions.

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CBS News veteran Al Ortiz, who has recently spent time as interim executive producer of “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” announced his plans to retire this summer, per Deadline

“I’m immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished on the broadcast over the past year. I’m proud of the awards we’ve won under Norah’s leadership, proud of the steady progress in the ratings and demos,” Ortiz said. 

Ortiz took over the role at the evening newscast following the departure of Jay Shaylor last year. Overall, Ortiz has been with the news division for over four decades and has been the executive producer of the evening news broadcast on two occasions.

CBS News plans to begin its search for Ortiz’s successor. Also, Norah O’Donnell, who recently upped her deal with the network, stated that Ortiz is “universally admired, respected, and loved, a true gentleman in every sense of the word who cares so deeply about journalism but cares about the people who work not only on our show, the Evening News, but everybody at CBS.”

In his 43 years with CBS News, Ortiz has held other positions with the company, serving as vice president of standards and practices, foreign editor, London bureau chief, and Washington bureau chief.

“When you ultimately retire this summer, you’ll still be on the top of your game. The job is the penultimate of the industry. You’ve accomplished it all, and CBS News is forever in your debt,” Neeraj Khemlani, co-head of CBS News and Stations, said. 

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News Television

Sinclair CEO Says Political Environment Is “Very Good for Our Business”

Sinclair’s CEO, Chris Ripley, offered his perspective on political ads at the MoffettNathanson 9th Annual Media and Communications Summit.

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The midterm elections are here, and according to one television executive, it’s the best time considering the amount of political advertisement money pouring into stations at the local and national. 

One key beneficiary of that cash inflow is Sinclair Broadcast Group, the No. 2 owner of local TV stations in the U.S. The company’s CEO, Chris Ripley, offered his perspective on political ads at the MoffettNathanson 9th Annual Media and Communications Summit.

“Some of these primary races are crazy,” Ripley said, per Deadline. “On the one hand, I lament that we’re in the political environment that we are. On the other hand, it’s very good for our business.”

Ripley used an example to make a point with his claim, citing U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance who won his primary race after spending a heavy amount ont television ads. 

Furthermore, the television executive adds that the $75 million spent on TV ads for the primary was 40 times more than what was spent on the primary in the last election. Ripley also added that spending on ballots is also up and should continue to increase as issues like abortion and legal gambling arise. 

“More and more issues are going on direct ballots,” he said. “With what’s going on with abortion rights, that’s going to just even add to that category.” Legalizing sports betting or cannabis are other issues generating significant ad spending.

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News Television

NBC News Correspondent Pete Williams to Retire

Williams will remain with NBC News through July before calling it a career. 

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NBC News

NBC News has announced Justice Department and Supreme Court correspondent Pete Williams will be retiring from the company. The reporter has been with the network for nearly three decades and has been at the forefront of many breaking news stories in Washington, DC. 

“Pete has been one of the nation’s foremost authorities covering the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice for nearly three decades,” NBC News President Noah Oppenheim said in a memo to staff

“His career has been defined by his reputation for accuracy, reliability, and unmatched expertise in the subjects he covers.” 

Williams has covered various topics for NBC News, including the court cases dealing with the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality. Earlier this year, the correspondent was the one who reported the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer would retire at the end of the current term.

“In short, for generations of NBC News reporters, working alongside Pete has been a daily masterclass in journalism. But perhaps more importantly, it has been a masterclass in what it means to be a good colleague,” Oppenheim added.

“Pete’s decency, kindness, and generosity are unmatched. For those that know Pete well, it’s his warmth, humor, wit, and compassion that will be missed most.”

Williams will remain with NBC News through July before calling it a career. 

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Chris Licht: CNN Must Be Beacon of Journalism to Functional Democracy

“Now, the next chapter of CNN is one where we aspire to be a beacon for the kind of journalism essential to a functioning democracy,” Licht said

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CNN’s new president Chris Licht shed some light on the direction he plans to take the company at the Warner Bros. Discovery upfront. 

Licht spoke at the presentation alongside Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who expressed that CNN will be organized “to advocate for journalism first” and deliver for viewers “seeking more accurate information and less yelling and conflict.”

Furthermore, Licht proposed similar aspirations as he summarized his plan for the cable news channel to double down on what many might call sane news. 

“Now, the next chapter of CNN is one where we aspire to be a beacon for the kind of journalism essential to a functioning democracy,” Licht said, per Mediaite.

“In a time where extremes are dominating cable news, we will seek to go a different way — reflecting the real lives of our viewers and elevating the way America and the world views this medium.”

The new CNN president also vows to “challenge the traditional philosophy of cable news, delivering programming and commentary that questions the status quo, shatters group-think, holds our leaders on both sides of the aisle accountable to facts, and fights fearlessly to get to the truth.”

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