Weren't able to attend the 2009 Marketing to African-Americans with Excellence
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BET News names Karen
Saunders and Jason Samuels to series producer posts
(August 10, 2009) BET Networks announced that Karen Saunders will be
joining BET News as the senior producer of the network's new series, BET
NEWS IN-DEPTH. Saunders comes to BET with more than 20 years of
experience as a writer, director and producer. Additionally,
award-winning broadcast news producer and New York University journalism
professor, Jason Samuels has joined BET News as the senior series
producer of HEART OF THE CITY. Both will report directly to Keith Brown,
Senior Vice President of BET News and Public Affairs.
"BET News is excited to add these impressive professionals to our team.
Karen's expertise and creativity will be extremely influential in
building BET NEWS IN-DEPTH into a successful series," said Brown. "Her
achievement-filled career and interest in supporting the Black community
makes her an ideal match for BET News."
Brown added, "Jason has achieved a great deal already in his
distinguished career as a producer for NBC News, ABC News and ESPN. His
talents are well-suited to his new role creating compelling,
high-quality news content for BET."
Saunders comes to BET News from Crystal Bell & KCS Productions, where
she was executive producer and creative director since 2005. Prior to
that, she also enjoyed tenure as a staff producer, writer and field
director for ABC News and 20/20 from 1986-1992 and 1997-2005. While
there, she produced projects that increased ratings, expanded
demographics, and generated praise for the network. After leaving ABC
to work for Bill Cosby as supervising producer on You Bet Your Life,
Saunders was asked back to ABC a second time in 1997, to contribute at a
crucial development stage when the show expanded to two nights a week.
She also held a number of freelance positions from 1993-1997 for Fox
News' Front Page, Time Warner-Telepictures' Extra, Rysher
Entertainment's Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, and The Wrightwood
Group's This I Believe, a Disney Channel educational series.
Saunders received numerous awards for her involvement in projects for
ABC News and 20/20. She earned the prestigious Dupont and Peabody Awards
and an Emmy for her involvement with the ABC News team's coverage of the
World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and has also
been recognized on various occasions for her work on African American
issues. She has been honored by Columbia University School of
Journalism, recognized several times, by the National Association of
Black Journalists and honored with the NAACP Image Award nomination.
Saunders earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in radio and television from
the University of Arizona. She is also a member of the Director's Guild
BET NEWS IN-DEPTH is a series of quarterly specials that aim to expose
the misinterpretations of Black culture in mainstream media. From the
crippling AIDS epidemic to the current realities facing Black women to
the ever-changing structure of the Black family, BET NEWS IN-DEPTH will
tell the stories and uncover the facts, revealing our truths. BET NEWS
IN-DEPTH gives voice to the lives and experiences of Black people in
America from the unique, award-winning perspective of BET News.
Prior to joining BET News, Samuels served as a senior producer for the
innovative ESPN primetime newsmagazine E:60. He is also an associate
professor of journalism at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of
New York University.
From 2006-2008, Samuels was a senior producer for ABC News' World News
with Charles Gibson. There he managed all of World News' digital
content, including the daily production of the World News Webcast
anchored by Charles Gibson, the only live, daily network newscast
produced exclusively for a digital audience. In addition, Samuels has
served as the senior producer in charge of the ABC News' two weekend
evening news broadcasts, World News Saturday and World News Sunday.
Before joining ABC News, Samuels spent 12 years as a producer for NBC
News where he produced and worked on many award-winning long form
projects for the broadcast newsmagazine Dateline NBC. Perhaps most
notably, in 2004 Samuels produced the groundbreaking Dateline NBC hour —
"A Pattern of Suspicion." This examination of racial profiling was
honored with several of the most prestigious prizes in broadcast
journalism including an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, an
RTNDA/Edward R. Murrow Award and an Investigative Reporter and Editor
Award. Samuels began his journalism career as a news writer and producer
at WCVB-TV in Boston.
Samuels has received many acknowledgements for his work. In total he has
received one Emmy Award, five Emmy nominations (including three for
coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster), a Freedom Forum Excellence
in Urban Journalism Award, a Cine Golden Eagle Award, a New York
Association of Black Journalist Award for Overall Excellence, and an
American Women in Radio and Television Grace Award.
In addition to Samuels' successful and accomplished career he is a
member of several boards and organizations. He is a member of the Board
of Advisors for Tufts University Tisch College of Public Citizenship and
Public Service, Former Board President of the Ricardo O'Gorman School
(Harlem, N.Y.), a Former Trustee of the International Youth Leadership
Institute and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
In 2007 Samuels was selected to participate in the "Punch Sulzberger
News Media Executive Leadership Program" at Columbia University, a
12-month joint business/journalism program for emerging industry
Samuels received a Bachelors of Arts and English from Tufts University
and then went on to receive his Master of Journalism from the University
of California at Berkeley.
In HEART OF THE CITY, BET News takes viewers inside America's cities to
examine the most significant issues impacting urban America at the dawn
of the 21st century. Led by Emmy and Columbia-duPont award-winning
series producer Jason Samuels, HEART OF THE CITY will take an
unflinching look at the complex problems plaguing our communities - and
reveal the stories of those fighting to find solutions. HEART OF THE
CITY will premiere on Saturday, September 12, at 10:00 p.m. on BET.