NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AOL, Inc.’s (NYSE:AOL) The Huffington Post Media Group, a leading source of news, opinion, entertainment, community and digital information, today makes several key announcements: (1) Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, is joining The Huffington Post Media Group and AOL as Strategic Adviser for Social Impact to enhance innovation around social impact and cause-based initiatives; (2) veteran journalist John Montorio joins as Culture and Entertainment Editor, with an additional ten new hires coming aboard an expanding Huffington Post Media Group reporting team; (3) Howard Fineman is named Editorial Director of The Huffington Post Media Group; (4) in partnership with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Patch.com, the hyper-local news and information platform, expands to two new neighborhoods in the city; and (5) a “30-Day Service Challenge” to encourage employees to volunteer launches today, with all sections of The Huffington Post prominently featuring the work of individuals and nonprofits helping the needy.
Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, and Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, made the announcement.
“I’m delighted to announce eleven new journalists joining our expanding editorial and reporting teams, along with the six we announced last week,” said Arianna Huffington. “I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome John Montorio, one of the industry’s most respected editors, as our Culture and Entertainment Editor. Since one of our key goals is to explore and spotlight innovative ways that our company – as well as others – can do good, I’m thrilled that Biz Stone will be our strategic partner in this important endeavor. A focus on service is central to our DNA, so our 30-Day Service Challenge for employees will be matched by site-wide HuffPost coverage of people and organizations that are giving back. And as we are taking steps to expand and deepen our local coverage, I want to thank Mayor Cory Booker for his enthusiastic support of Patch’s latest two neighborhood news sites in Newark.”
Said Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, “The scope of The Huffington Post Media Group’s new initiatives – from seventeen impressive new journalism hires in just over a week and an expansion of Patch into Newark to a month-long volunteer challenge for all AOL employees -- demonstrates our companies’ combined eagerness to hit the ground running following the rapidly-executed merger. I’m especially thrilled that Biz Stone will be helping us to refine one of our core goals: using innovative approaches to do good and give back while putting a spotlight on solutions.”
Strategic Adviser For Social Impact
Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, is joining The Huffington Post Media Group and AOL as Strategic Impact Adviser. Said Mr. Stone: "The definition of success is changing as we begin to understand the value of helping others. Arianna and Tim share my vision for aligning corporate resources toward meaningful change," said Biz Stone. “My goal in partnering with AOL and The Huffington Post Media Group is ambitious but vitally important. Together we will rally companies to think about new ways of doing business, share best practices, and strive for positive impact at all levels -- from global to local."
Mr. Stone will advise on social impact and cause-based initiatives, develop a platform to facilitate people doing service in their communities, rally other companies to invest in and deploy best corporate practices, and create and develop a video series spotlighting leading companies and executives at the forefront of philanthropy and corporate responsibility.
Growing Reporting Team Across Sections
John Montorio, a veteran journalist and media executive with more than 30 years of experience reporting, writing, editing and managing news staffs, joins as Culture and Entertainment Editor. "I have had the rare opportunity to contribute creatively to two of the country's top-tier newspapers -- The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Now I have the incredible good fortune to play a similar role at one of the country's premier online news sources. It's a chance to help build a great 21st Century news organization.”
Montorio served as a Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Times and as an Associate Managing Editor of The New York Times. At both papers he was responsible for features coverage. During his seven years at the Los Angeles Times, he helped to overhaul the Calendar sections, the Book Review, the Sunday Magazine, Travel, Food, Home, and Health, and launched Outdoors, and Image, a fashion and style section. He also was responsible for a variety of special news projects, including the development of more profiles in the main news sections and improved coverage of trends. Before joining the LA Times in 2001, he spent 15 years at The New York Times, where he relaunched many of the paper's signature feature sections, including House & Home, Dining In/Dining Out and Sunday Styles, and launched The City section for metro and The Living Arts in the National Editions.
The Huffington Post Media Group’s reporting team is also expanding to include an additional ten new hires: Jennifer Bendery has been named White House Correspondent; Caroline Dworin has been named Culture/Style Reporter; Dave Jamieson has been named Workplace Reporter; Saki Knafo has been named General Assignment Writer; Simone Landon has been named News Editor; and Catherine New, Real Estate Editor.
Jennifer Bendery has been covering the White House as well as the House and Senate Leadership for Roll Call for three years. She reported for four years on the Texas State Legislature for GalleryWatch in Austin, Texas, and covered health care policy for a number of national weekly newsletters.
Caroline Dworin was a regular contributor to the City section of The New York Times, and appeared in the anthology "More New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of The New York Times." She has written for The New Yorker's "Book Bench" blog, for Newsweek.com, and for the Columbia Journalism Review.
Dave Jamieson comes from the D.C. news site TBD.com, where he covered transportation issues. Before that he authored a non-fiction book, Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession, and wrote Slate, The New Republic, The Washington Post, Outside, and the Washington City Paper. His work has won the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and the Hillman Foundation’s Sidney Award.
Saki Knafo has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, the Believer, GQ, and Publishers Weekly. His work has appeared in two anthologies, "Lost and Found: Stories from New York (Mr. Beller's Neighborhood)"and "New York Stories: Best of the City Section."
Simone Landon was a producer of Morning Edition for Rhode Island Public Radio. She covered immigrant workers for Labor Notes magazine and daily news for Detroit Public Radio. At The Detroit Metro Times, she wrote on arts and music as well as urban education.
Catherine New has nearly 10 years of editorial and newsroom experience, with her writing and graphics having been published by the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Metro Newspaper, Flavorpill.com, Men’s Vogue and Psychology Today. In 2004, she was on the team that launched Metro Newspaper in New York City, oversaw the development of the features sections, and authored the popular weekly real estate column, "At Home With..."
As for our Jefferson young journalists, Katherine Bindley graduated from Georgetown University and was a regular contributor to The New York Times City section, and joins as Culture/Style Reporter; Laura Gottesdiener graduated from Yale and was a staff writer for The Brooklyn Paper, and joins as Lifestyle Reporter; Joy Resmovits graduated from Barnard and has been at the Forward since 2010, and joins as Education Reporter; and Laura Stampler graduated from Stanford University and has written for The New Republic, The Nation, The Miami Herald, and joins as Lifestyle Reporter.
In addition, as Politics Daily is being folded into The Huffington Post Media Group, Andrea Stone, Alex Wagner and David Wood are joining as Senior National Correspondent, Social Impact Reporter and Military Defense Correspondent, respectively.
Andrea Stone was Senior Washington Correspondent at AOL News. Before joining AOL in September 2009, she spent nearly 24 years at USA Today. A veteran national correspondent, Stone has covered politics, Congress, the military, foreign affairs and all manner of general news.
Alex Wagner was most recently White House Correspondent for Politics Daily. She was previously Editor-in-Chief of Fader Magazine, and is a frequent contributor to MSNBC.
David Wood has 30 years of experience covering conflict and has filed dispatches from dozens of battlefields. He has served as correspondent for Time Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Newhouse News Service and the Baltimore Sun. Wood has won the Gerald Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense, and in 2008 won the Headliners Club award for his reporting on Iraq.
Fineman Named Editorial Director
In addition to new hires, Howard Fineman has been named to the larger role of Editorial Director of The Huffington Post Media Group. Fineman, a longtime political correspondent, had previously served as senior political editor of The Huffington Post. In this new role, Fineman will help shape The Huffington Post Media Group’s overall coverage, and work to integrate AOL news and information brands. He will also guide The Huffington Post's upcoming presidential campaign coverage. Howard Fineman will continue to report for The Huffington Post, and will continue his role as an analyst for NBC and MSNBC.
Patch.com Expands To Two Underserved Communities In Newark, NJ
In partnership with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Patch.com, the community news and information platform, expands to two underserved urban locations in Newark, New Jersey.
“Bringing Patch to Newark is an exciting next step in informing, engaging, and inspiring our community with the news and information they need every day,” said Mayor Booker. “I'm thrilled to welcome Patch to our neighborhoods and I'm certain the sites will be a terrific asset for everyone who lives, works, volunteers, and raises families here. Information helps build communities, and bringing Patch to Newark will be a great thing for our city."
Said Warren Webster, President of Patch, "Patch has invested heavily in New Jersey -- in fact, it was where we launched our first three sites in 2009. We are very excited to work closely with Mayor Booker to bring neighborhood journalism, information and social interactivity to one of America's great cities."
The Huffington Post and AOL Reveal First Round of Integrated User Features
Following an intensive coordinated effort by both HuffPost and AOL tech teams after the close of the merger, The Huffington Post and AOL sites go live today with the first phase of user feature integration. AOL.com will highlight a “Most Popular Articles” widget, with the most popular articles and blog posts from HuffPost and AOL; similarly, HuffPost’s “Most Popular” widget will feature articles from AOL.com and HuffPost. The Huffington Post will be Devil-enabled, and a Project Devil ad will be seen on the site today. In addition, HuffPost will feature hyper-local content from Patch.
A Focus On ‘Giving Back’
As part of its commitment to “giving back,” The Huffington Post Media Group and AOL are announcing a “30-Day Service Challenge” to encourage employees to volunteer in their communities, with staffers beginning to volunteer starting today. Employees of The Huffington Post Media Group and AOL will be helping throughout their local communities, from preparing food for families and individuals in need at the LA Food Bank to dancing with elderly residents of nursing homes in New York City, a volunteering opportunity offered by New York Cares, New York City’s largest volunteer organization and AOL’s New York partner for the initiative. The 30-Day Service Challenge is a lead-up to AOL’s “Monster Help Day” on May 20th, the company’s second annual employee-wide focused day of service.
Arianna Huffington and Tim Armstrong will today be teaching a class to New York City school children at Urban Academy of Arts and Letters in Brooklyn, as part of a Citizen Schools program encouraging professionals to team up with public schools to create an enhanced learning community after the school day ends. AOL will also be donating $50,000 to Citizen Schools to help the organization expand its efforts in providing productive after-school activities for middle-school children in underserved communities.
In addition to employee-wide “giving back,” all sections of The Huffington Post will today cover and prominently feature the stories of needy families and individuals, as well as individuals and nonprofits working at the local level to address those needs.
Here is a sample of what will be featured: HuffPost Business will put a spotlight on Imran Farooq, a 26 year-old USC graduate student who has developed a promising model for how neighborhoods can work together to resist foreclosures and stop plummeting property values. HuffPost Living will cover Street Yoga, of Portland, Oregon, following mounting scientific evidence that by providing a sense or order and balance, the practice of yoga can help those suffering from trauma, abuse and addiction. HuffPost Health will be highlighting the Nurse-Family Partnership, which provides support for low-income first-time mothers to promote preventive health practices like good nutrition and avoiding substance abuse -- as well as working toward economic self-sufficiency.