May 20, 2019

NBC News snags CNN video guru amid digital leadership shakeup

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

NBC News announced on Monday the hiring of CNN's longtime video executive Chris Berend to run its digital operation. Berend will replace Nick Ascheim, who is currently senior vice president of digital at NBC News and MSNBC. Ascheim will be taking a new role within NBCUniversal.

Details: "Over the next few weeks, Nick will be moving into a role working to improve digital performance across the NBC News Group and will continue to partner with the NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises team. More details will come on his role," the note says.

  • Berend, who currently serves as CNN's senior vice president of global video, will be heading to NBC this summer to run digital.
  • Aside from overseeing all of CNN's editorial video operations, Berend was also the co-founder of Great Big Story, a CNN-owned global media brand devoted to cinematic storytelling.

The big picture: The staff changes come as NBC News pushes more aggressively into podcasts and streaming.

Read the full memo from NBC News chairman Andy Lack to staff:

Dear Colleagues,

We’ve worked hard over the last few years to build an innovative and competitive Digital business. Thanks to the leadership of Nick Ascheim and all your creativity and ingenuity, we’ve made enormous progress since 2015.

Nick now has an opportunity to take his considerable skills beyond NBC News. Over the next few weeks, Nick will be moving into a role working to improve digital performance across the NBC News Group and will continue to partner with the NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises team. More details will come on his role.

With Nick moving on, I’ve been giving a good deal of thought to the next steps in the evolution of our Digital efforts. Specifically, how can we further our goal of always putting 'story first' while fully integrating our television, digital video and text journalism into one unified structure within NBC News? As I said at our town hall meeting last Fall, it’s a mindset and a cultural shift, but one we are uniquely capable of achieving. 

Our Digital team must now live more deeply within NBC News organizationally, rather than alongside it. To that end, I’m pleased to announce that Chris Berend will be joining us at the beginning of July to help lead us down that path. Chris will be EVP, NBC News Digital, reporting in to Noah. Chris is currently at CNN where he oversees all digital video content, including breaking news, feature content, and original premium series. Prior to his time at CNN, Chris was a digital leader at Bloomberg Media and ESPN, and before that a journalist at Esquire. He has a sharp eye for product, and a fantastic sense of the business and editorial demands of digital news.

Please join me in congratulating Nick on a job well done, and welcoming Chris to NBC News.

Warm Regards,


Note: NBC is an investor in Axios, and Andy Lack is a member of the Axios board.

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