Meet Mitra Kalita. She’ll be making a big move from the left coast to the right to head up programming for CNN Digital in the coming weeks. Mitra joins CNN from the Los Angeles Times, where she is serving as the publication’s managing editor. Before that, she was the executive editor of Quartz. She’s also worked for the Wall Street Journal, Mint and the Washington Post.
In her new role as VP of Programming, Mitra will lead CNN Digital’s efforts to creatively share its journalism and storytelling across an ever-exploding array of platforms. She will oversee the News & Alerting, Special Projects, and Mobile & Off-Platform teams. Mitra will be based in the Big Apple and report to Editor-in-Chief Meredith Artley.
Since no one really likes press releases, we decided to mix things up with a Q&A. Read on and join us in welcoming Mitra to CNN: @MitraKalita.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chips. Uber. Bright tights. The Office. The TV show, not the place.
VP of Programming sounds like a TV title. What does that mean for Digital?
The success of our journalism rests on two important factors: how good is the story and how good is the distribution. How adaptive are we to different devices and different platforms? How accessible, relatable, intimate, authoritative? Technically, I will oversee the homepage, alerts, projects and planning, mobile news and off-platform partnerships and initiatives. But really, I see this job as one that collaborates across departments, time zones and mediums to maximize the reach of our journalism.
If you weren’t a journalist, what would you be doing?
I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.
On January 28, 1986 CNN was the only national broadcast network to carry the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger on live TV. Today, CNNVR has brought that viewing experience back through virtual reality.
In partnership with TimeLooper, a location-based time travel app known for its ability to take users back to a specific point in time through virtual reality, CNN embarked on an incredibly ambitious VR reenactment shoot: rebuilding a version of the CNN studios circa 1986 to bring users back to the moment of the Challenger explosion.
Archival footage from inside the CNN studio that day and consultation with current CNN staffers who witnessed the moment as it unfolded helped reconstruct the scene.
The CNNVR team rented vintage cameras, built a set with 20 pieces, hired 40 actors, hair & makeup, wardrobe and used CGI effects to recreate the moment.
With an introduction from Anderson Cooper, the project takes you right back to 1986 and that tragic day in history.
CNNVR is the network's virtual reality newsgathering and storytelling operation. CNN was the first media outlet to live stream a major news event in virtual reality with the trailblazing project of capturing and streaming CNN's Republican and Democratic Debates in the fall of 2015. Praised by critics for "flipping conventional wisdom on its head," CNNVR has produced both domestic and international stories through the technology, including a front row seat to a political rally and memorials in the cities of Brussels and Paris.
CNN announced today that its latest update to the CNN App for Android Phones includes the ability to playback 360 video from within the app – not requiring the use of another device or application.
For the first time, users will be able to see 360, virtual reality videos in the core CNN Android app, showcasing the commitment to virtual reality across CNN Digital platforms. A user can view the experience today on Android devices by watching the latest production from the CNNVR team.
CNN Digital Studios has launched six new videos in their Future of Adventure series, which begin rolling out today. The series focuses on how people are experiencing adventure in new ways because of technological innovation and ingenious designs that allow them to reach new heights in exploration.
Today’s feature focuses on the man who created a robotic suit that allows deep-sea divers to propel through the ocean using water jets. Other videos will focus on inventions in space travel, Earth-friendly wetsuits and airbags.
CNNMoney’s award-winning investigative journalists Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken embarked on a months-long investigation to search for the woman who is the face of one of the biggest cons in history — French psychic Maria Duval.
The scam has lasted more than 20 years and has spanned more than a dozen countries. It has allegedly claimed at least 1.4 million victims in the United States alone.
And yet authorities around the world have been unable to shut it down.
In a five-part series beginning today, Ellis and Hicken trace the evolution of the scheme, uncovering a surprising world of shell companies and businessmen, and the role of Duval herself, whose existence even investigators have questioned.
Explore the series in full at CNNMoney.com/MariaDuval, and catch Ellis and Hicken on CNN’s New Day on Thursday morning to hear more about their investigation.
Follow CNNMoney's search at #PsychicScam
The University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN today announced a new partnership of the popular, critically acclaimed podcast “The Axe Files.”
Axelrod, a senior political commentator for CNN, launched the podcast in September 2015 at the Institute of Politics, a non-partisan extracurricular organization he founded three years ago at his alma mater.
The podcast, a series of revealing conversations with key players in the political world, has featured guests such as Bernie Sanders, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, and Spike Lee. To date the podcast has been downloaded nearly 900,000 times and praised by The A.V. Club as “an intimate and engaging discussion podcast.”
“When we started this podcast, I envisioned it as a chance to provide rare insights into some of the smartest people in politics, a way to give listeners a richer sense of who these people are and what they do,” said Axelrod. “With its growing podcast network, CNN is a perfect fit for this program, especially in this fascinating election year.”
Listen to the first episode on CNN.com/Podcast
The Democratic presidential hopefuls faced plenty of questions at the CNN Iowa Democratic Candidates Town Hall, including a special one exclusively for the CNN Snapchat Discover channel:
Now live on Snapchat Discover, you can also read each of the candidate’s answers below and on CNNPolitics.com, to be credited to CNN:
Sec. Hillary Clinton
“I’m going to do everything I can to get more young people involved. Not only in politics but also seeing roles for them in the government. Seeing them as young entrepreneurs. Getting more small businesses that they can start. Providing more opportunities for education to make it affordable to go to college and get the student debt down. I have a whole young persons agenda and I’m really focused on this because after all, you know that’s the future and we’re supposed to be trying to do our best to make the future work for those coming after."
Gov. Martin O'Malley
“I’m going to speak to the goodness that’s within our country that I hear articulated all the time whenever I talk to young people under 30. We are moving to a much more connected, compassionate and generous place. We need to square our shoulders to the big challenges of our times like climate change and the changing nature of conflict, and realize that in this world of ours there is really one yearning – the whole world over – and that is the yearning for a job. To be able to give our kids a better future. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what we do best as Americans. And that’s what we need to do again in this generation."
Sen. Bernie Sanders
“What we’re going to do is end the absurdity of having a rigged economy and a corrupt campaign finance system. We’re going to revitalize American democracy and make our government work for all people rather than a handful of billionaires. We’re going to make public colleges and universities tuition free, because everybody in this country should have the right to a college education regardless of the income of their families."