Atkinson to Head New Team at NBC

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The business side of the media has gone through quantum shifts in recent years, and most brands are doing all they can to stay ahead of the curve. Some are faring better than others. In their bid to keep a finger on the pulse of the consumer public’s desire for media, NBCUniversal has hired Claire Atkinson as senior media editor.

Atkinson, longtime NY Post media business reporter, will answer to NBC News Digital Executive Editor Catherine Kim. While there’s not yet a name for this new endeavor, NBC is confident the time has come for this kind of strategic move.

Speaking to the media about the decision, Kim said, “…the media industry is facing incredible change due to technology, social platforms, the marketplace, consumer tastes, and behaviors… The new unit will tell this epic story of the people, power, and players that will fundamentally transform media in the decade ahead and what it means to you…”

Media beat heavy hitters expected to join Atkinson’s team as contributors include former LA Times entertainment industry reporter Jim Rainey, NBC News correspondent Jo Ling Kent, as well as a host of New Media names, including BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, and media entrepreneur Steven Brill.

Some in the industry are already questioning the decision. Critics say NBC is only duplicating something it already does over at CNBC. But the media company insists this team and its mission will be different than the other segment that focuses only part-time on media business news.

Those in support of the move say there’s clear precedent of both the strategy and the interest making the addition tenable. CNN’s Reliable Sources and Fox News’ Mediabuzz both cover current media news. And, there’s no doubt media is interesting to many people today.

For an industry facing so much constant criticism these days, interest in media is higher than ever. People are choosing sides, and that means they are even more loyal to their brand than they were when the idea of media “choice” boiled down to which nightly anchor you liked.

These days, media is incredibly a la carte, and that has turned people from consumers into fans. And, like any fan base, there are many within that group who want to know about the people bringing the news as much as they want to know the news itself.

So, can the media market handle a third big-name media coverage team? Time will tell, but this may be one way for the big brands in TV media to differentiate themselves to a splintering market.

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