Jeff Ballabon has been named Senior Vice President, Communications, CBS News, it was announced today by Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports, and Gil Schwartz, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, CBS Corporation. He will begin February 23.
In this position, Ballabon will oversee all media relations and public affairs for CBS News, including strategy and planning, day-to-day publicity, internal and external communications, and coordination with CBS Interactive regarding CBSNews.com.
"Jeff is a proven communications executive who appreciates that success in the news business demands uncompromising integrity and credibility combined with reach, accessibility and customization." said McManus. "We are excited that Jeff is coming on board at a time when CBS News increasingly is being recognized for excellence."
"Jeff brings an extraordinary breadth and diversity of experience to CBS News and I am delighted that he will be joining our communications team," said Schwartz. "He is a substantive and creative thinker who has successfully managed complex issues in journalism and public policy, and implicitly understands trends across platforms in both traditional and new media."
Previously, Ballabon served as Vice President, Public Policy for Primedia Inc. (2001-2004), where he oversaw public affairs and government relations for all Primedia companies, and was a member of that company’s corporate communications and branding team. He also was Executive Vice President at Primedia Television and at Films Media Group, as well as Channel One News, where he managed media and government relations and crisis communications (1998-2004).
Prior to his Primedia position, Ballabon was Senior Vice President, Network Affairs for Court TV (1995-1998) where he managed the network’s communications, public relations and government relations, including the issue of "Cameras in the Courtrooms." At Court TV, during a period of exceptionally high-profile trials, including the O.J. Simpson, Menendez brothers, and "Boston Nanny" murder trials, he led the network’s groundbreaking efforts to increase television access to court proceedings in America and abroad. Also while at Court TV, Ballabon was a key figure in negotiating a federal rule permitting the closed-circuit televising of the Timothy McVeigh ("Oklahoma City Bomber") murder trial to survivors of the crime and to victims’ families.
Before Court TV, he worked as an attorney in private practice and on Capitol Hill, where he was legislative counsel to U.S. Senator John C. Danforth (R-MO) and a professional staffer on the Senate Commerce Committee.
Ballabon has appeared in national and international media and participated in international forums as an expert on democratic ideals, free press, journalistic ethics and reporting on government. Ballabon left Primedia to found Ballabon Group, a public-affairs consultancy, where he continued to serve Primedia, Channel One News and numerous other media and business clients and causes. He also served as the New York City affiliate of The Livingston Group, a major Washington, D.C. government relations firm. In those roles, he has managed sensitive and sophisticated image, reputation, policy and issue campaigns. Ballabon has advised presidential candidates and campaigns, members of the U.S. Congress, corporations, charitable organizations and international non-governmental organizations.
He has been active in a number of media and public-policy organizations, including as a member of the Cable Television Public Affairs Association's board of directors, co-chair of the Federalist Society's Media Law Subcommittee, a member of the Magazine Publishers of America's Government Affairs Council and a member of the New York Bar Media Law Committee.
Ballabon holds a degree in English Literature from Yeshiva University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. A native New Yorker, he lives on Long Island with his wife and their five children.
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