Fusion Partners with PEN American Center to Establish Emerging Writers Prize

New Award Established to Recognize and Reward Promising Young Writers Who Focus on Global and Multicultural Issues ​

Fusion today announced that is partnering with the PEN American Center to establish the “PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize.” The new award will recognize a promising young writer of an unpublished non-fiction work that addresses a global or multicultural issue.

“Fusion is committed to supporting the next generation of journalists and writers,” said Daniel Eilemberg, Fusion Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer. “We are thrilled to partner with PEN to reward excellence in literature and journalism while promoting free expression.”

The PEN/Fusion Emerging Writer Prize will be awarded to an unpublished manuscript written by a writer under the age of 35 who has had at least one prior publication in a national magazine or journal. The manuscript submission must be an original, previously unpublished work of nonfiction written by one person, in English ranging in word length from 8,000 to 80,000. Each application must include a short description of the work and briefly detail how the work connects to a global or multicultural issue.

The winning manuscript will be chosen by a panel of three judges distinguished literary authors selected by PEN’s Literary Awards Committee. The winner will be announced next Spring and will be honored at the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony in June 2015.

For more about the PEN/Fusion Emerging Writer Prize click here.

Kal Penn Joins Fusion as Special Correspondent for Network’s Midterm Election Coverage

Fusion Launches Primetime Politics Show “Midterm Mayhem: The Ultimate Political Smackdown” Airing Sunday-Thursday at 9:30 p.m. Beginning October 5

Fusion today announced that acclaimed actor, producer Kal Penn is joining the network as a Special Correspondent for its midterm election coverage. Fusion’s election coverage plans will include a special  live nightly primetime program “Midterm Mayhem: The Ultimate Political Smackdown,” which will apply the high-minded and thoughtful analysis usually associated with professional wrestling to the heart-stopping, pulse-pounding spectacle of the upcoming midterm election.

Hosted by Fusion’s Nando Vila (“The Soccer Gods”) and featuring Penn, who will be a special correspondent, “Midterm Mayhem” will bring viewers all the essential political news of the day and answer questions of fundamental importance to Fusion’s audience like “Why should we vote?,” “Who should we vote for?,” and “What was that you said about why we should vote?” Fusion anchors Jorge Ramos and Alicia Menendez will contribute reporting and insights to the program along with Fusion’s Alice Brennan and Romina Puga and a range of additional correspondents and contributors. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver will be a guest on the premiere episode Sunday, October 5.

"Midterm Mayhem” will air Sunday through Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and will originate from Fusion’s Los Angeles studios. Billy Kimball (Comedy Central’s “InDecision ‘92”) and Mark Lima, Vice President of News at Fusion, will serve as executive producers. The program will also be live-streamed and featured on Fusion’s digital platform.

“It’s definitely possible to be entertaining while having conversations about things that actually matter in the democratic process,” said Kal Penn. “Our political debates generate a lot punchlines and crazy segments, and that’s fun, but we’re hoping to offer some smart, engaging, and entertaining reporting without obsessing over the lowest common denominator. We hope to inspire people to get off the sidelines, get engaged, and wake up on election day and actually vote.”

Fusion will also be covering key races and issues like same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization, and immigration reform that resonate with millennials within its existing primetime programs “AMERICA with Jorge Ramos” (Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m.) “Alicia Menendez Tonight” (weeknights at 9:00 p.m.) and “Fusion Live” hosted by Mariana Atencio and Pedro Andrade (weeknights at 8:00 p.m.).

Kal Penn is an actor and producer known for his roles in the “Harold and Kumar” trilogy, “The Namesake,” and “How I Met Your Mother,” among others. He spent two seasons as Dr. Lawrence Kutner on the critically-acclaimed series “House”, and stars in the upcoming CBS/Vince Gilligan series “Battle Creek”. In 2009, Penn took a sabbatical from acting to work as an Associate Director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. During that time he served as the Administration’s liaison to young Americans. Penn has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, and University of California, Los Angeles. Upcoming film releases include Academy Award Nominee Lydia Pilcher’s “Sisterhood of Night”, British horror feature, “Dementemania”, and New York comedy “Stereotypically You”. Penn also co-stars with Olympia Dukakis and Zosia Mamet in the highly anticipated film “Outliving Emily”. He can be seen opposite Martin Sheen in the independent drama feature, “Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain”, releasing on November 7th.    

Fusion and USC Annenberg Launch New Fellowship Program

Graduates Will Develop Broadcast and Digital Programming for a Young, Diverse Audience

Fusion today announced that it is partnering with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to offer recent graduates several working fellowships specializing in digital storytelling, investigative reporting and documentary production.  
As part of the ongoing career-track fellowship program, three recent graduates will be hired annually to work for Fusion, a news, pop culture and satire network aimed at a young, diverse American audience. Fusion is a joint venture of Univision Communications Inc., and the Disney/ABC television network.  
“Millennials are the most socially and culturally connected generation, so we have to think beyond the traditional modes of journalism,” said Fusion CEO Isaac Lee. “By creating a pipeline of innovation between Fusion and the world’s best journalism schools like USC Annenberg, Fusion can continue to push the envelope and develop new ways to communicate with this young, diverse generation.”  
Fellows will work for an initial six-month period at either the network’s Miami headquarters or Los Angeles production offices and will be assigned to one of Fusion’s production units.
"We are thrilled to partner with Fusion to offer Annenberg graduates professional opportunities with an innovative, forward-thinking media company,” said School of Journalism Director Willow Bay. “Working at a network that offers millennials a unique mix of programming that includes in-depth reporting, investigative journalism, original series and documentaries will be extremely valuable for our grads. We look forward to developing new ways to collaborate with Isaac Lee and his team.”  
For Summer/Fall 2015, fellows will be assigned to the following units:  
  • Digital Unit: Fusion is focused on pushing the boundaries of storytelling in the digital space to change the way people interact with stories. One example of this is Fusion’s Bad Paper report that centered on an interactive game about the seedy world of debt collectors. Fellows will be working on special projects like this with the digital team. The Fellows will be adept at data visualization and infographic design and should have the ability to craft stories through visual and interactive media. 
  • Investigative Unit: Fellows will have the chance to work with Fusion’s intrepid team of investigative reporters by helping to research and produce original investigative reports that will have an impact like “Pimp City” and “Tasered.” Through both narrative and interactive storytelling, Fusion’s investigative team covers issues about injustice, corruption, immigration, and the economy among other topics that are important and relevant to its audience. 
  • Documentary Unit: There has been an increase in documentary viewing over the past several years, especially among younger viewers. Fellows will assist in the production of original feature length documentaries that are relevant for Fusion’s young, diverse audience. They will do camera work, producing, editing, and research.  
Fellows will be treated as Fusion employees, and be supervised and evaluated by each of the unit’s coordinators. Fusion will provide training and evaluation for each fellow when they begin the program. At the completion of the fellowship, fellows may be considered for a permanent position at Fusion. In selecting the 2015 fellows, USC Annenberg’s department of career services will work with Fusion to establish the application process.   

What is the Biggest Myth About Digital Media? Fusion’s Jorge Urrutia Explains

Jorge Urrutia, Fusion’s Vice President of Digital Monetization, was among the hundreds of digital media thought leaders who attended the Digiday Publishing Summit this week.

He was asked about the evolution of the digital media and was asked specifically about one major misconception people have about digital media today. He believes the biggest myth about digital media is “that the state of journalism is sad.” He explains below —

Jorge Urrutia, vp of digital monetization, Fusion

That the state of journalism is sad. That all we see is clickbait and misleading headlines on social media. My opinion is that there is a functional, and educational, and an emotional value to content. Journalists tend to care about the educational value the most, and as a result, they value long-form the most. But people, our audiences, need the three of them. Digital, and social networks, are amazing because they allow creators to come up with entirely new form factors to inform, like a simple tweet, to educate or to draw emotion. These form factors may require seconds or hours — it depends — but that does not make them any better or any worse from a “quality” standpoint. Quality should be defined as value to the audience!

Check out the full story at Digiday.

Tune-in tonight as Fusion’s Jorge Ramos takes the pulse of Puerto Rico. “Forbidden Puerto Rico - An AMERICA Special" airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. only on Fusion.

Take a Trip with Jorge Ramos to Puerto Rico


"Forbidden Puerto Rico - An AMERICA Special” Airs Tuesday, September 16 at 10:00 p.m.

Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos travels to one of the most exciting places in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico. Identified as an unincorporated territory of the United States, Jorge explores the food, music, and culture the bustling island has to offer — from learning how to skateboard in the notorious La Perla and zip lining 900 feet high above the Puerto Rican rain forests to hearing about the island’s economic and political situation from the younger generation. Puerto Rico has undergone a dramatic population shift over the past several years — there are now over a million more Puerto Ricans on the United States’ mainland than the island of Puerto Rico itself, according to Pew Research Center.

This special edition of “Forbidden Puerto Rico — An AMERICA Special” airs Tuesday, September 16 at 10:00 p.m. on Fusion.

Fusion Names Wade Beckett Chief Programming Officer

Fusion CEO Isaac Lee today announced that Wade Beckett is joining Fusion as Chief Programming Officer. “Wade is an experienced producer with a demonstrated track record of developing and leading innovative programming that resonates with new audiences. I have been impressed by Wade’s passion, focus, and strong production experience and am confident that he will take Fusion to the next level as we develop new, innovative content,” said Lee said in an email to staff today. “I look forward to seeing Wade’s enthusiasm, ideas, and leadership spread throughout Fusion as we experiment and innovate with new ways to connect our young, diverse audience to the stories that matter most to them.”

Wade takes over for Billy Kimball who recently stepped down from his post. Lee’s full email to staff below.

Read more

Fusion to Take Center Stage at Hispanic TV Summit

ABC News President James Goldston (left) and Fusion CEO Isaac Lee (right), who also serves as President of News for Univision, will come together for a conversation about the growing impact of Hispanic millennials on the television industry at the 12th annual Hispanic Television Summit. Fusion was launched as joint venture between the Disney/ABC Television Group and Univision in October 2013.

According to recent data from the U.S. Census, 65% of today’s Hispanics are millennials and one out of every five millennials in America is Hispanic.

"We are thrilled to have these two dynamic executives join us to be interviewed by Alicia Menendez, who is herself an energetic millennial. This session demonstrates how significantly the Hispanic audience has changed in just a few years and how television in both the general and Hispanic markets is changing to appeal to younger Hispanics," said Louis Hillelson, Vice President and Group Publisher of Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News. “It’s a whole new business. The generational shift in this audience is redefining what we now mean by the term Hispanic television.” 

The Hispanic Television Summit is hosted by Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News and will take place on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.

Check out the full announcement here.

Tim Pool Talks with The New York Times About Using New Technologies to Bear Witness During Breaking News Events

Tim Pool has joined Fusion as a Senior Correspondent and Director of Media Innovation. He previously worked for VICE. Tim spoke to The New York Times about the kind of journalism he plans to bring to Fusion.

The move comes as Fusion continues to build out its next-generation news network targeted at the diverse and elusive millennial audience. Fusion, which started last year, recently hired Jane Spencer, formerly of The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal; Felix Salmon, formerly of Reuters; and Anna Holmes, founder of the website Jezebel.

“We have this blank slate,” Mr. Pool said, adding that in his new role he would explore approaches for using mobile, robotic, drone and other technologies for reporting.

Mr. Pool, a Chicago native, said “it wasn’t really on purpose” that he became a journalist…. 

“Unbeknownst to me, I started doing journalism, just because I was bearing witness,” he said. “I started understanding that technology created a real opportunity to help share information.”

Read the full story by The New York Times' Emily Steel here.

Tim Pool Joins Fusion from Vice, Named Senior Correspondent and Director of Media Innovation


Fusion today announced that Tim Pool was joining the network from Vice. He will serve as a Senior Correspondent and Director of Media Innovation.

“Tim has offered audiences a perspective on news events that mainstream outlets have not been able to match using little more than his smartphone and a battery pack,” Fusion CEO Isaac Lee said in an email to staff this morning. “As we continue to find new ways to engage with our audience, Tim will play a crucial role in helping Fusion break new boundaries, while sharing innovative, authentic perspectives on the important events impacting the world.”

Lee’s full email below.

Read more

Alicia Menendez Named Political Power Player by Cosmo for Latinas

Fusion’s Alicia Menendez is featured in Cosmo for Latinas October issue. She is one of the women on the magazine’s “Political Power Players” list. 

Alicia Menendez
Host, Fusion’s Alicia Menendez Tonight

The 31-year old hipster-chic cubana is becoming the Latina face of the Sunday talk-show circuit. She reps millennials on everything from campus sexual assault to international political crisis — all with a wicked sense of humor. Look for her no-holds-barred coerage of the midterm elections. That means you, “Hispanderers!”

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Eva Longoria (Actress and Co-Founder of the Latino Victory Project), Cecilia Munoz (White House Domestic Policy Council) and Alida Garcia (Coalitions and policy director for FWD.us) are some of the others on the list.  

Check out the current issue of Cosmo for Latinas on stands now.

THIS SUNDAY: Fusion Explores Real-Life Human Drama of The Migrant Trail With Premiere of “Who Is Dayani Cristal?”

Over the past decade more than 2,000 people have died trying to cross the Arizona desert. Fusion, along with Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal and director Marc Silver, retrace the steps of one victim’s journey. Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora desert beneath a cicada tree, Arizona border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered t-shirt, they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? How did he die? Following a team of dedicated staff from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, “Who Is Dayani Cristal” seeks to answer these questions and give this anonymous man an identity. In a television premiere, “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” will air Sunday, September 7 at 8:00 p.m., ET as part of Fusion’s “Documental” series.

As the forensic investigation unfolds, Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal retraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America. In an effort to understand what it must have felt like to make this final journey, he embeds himself among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border. He experiences first-hand the dangers they face and learns of their motivations, hopes and fears. As they travel north, those voices from the other side of the border wall give them a rare insight into the human stories which are so often ignored in the immigration debate.

Winner of the Sundance 2013 Cinematography award and nominated in the World Documentary Competition, “Who is Dayani Cristal?” has been described by The Hollywood Reporter as “A deeply moving doc [which] finds a new way of making the immigration debate personal.”More on the documentary here.

“Documental,” Fusion’s weekly series of documentaries, features a new doc every Sunday night at 8:00 p.m., ET. To find out if Fusion is available in your area visit: GetFusionTV.com.