Brianna Keilar Gets CNN Anchor Role; Ali Velshi Slams CNN; Sara Sidner Maintains At CNN
Sara Sidner, Ali Velshi, and Brianna Keilar, all have two things in common: first, they all were at or are will with CNN, and second, I’m acquainted with all of them to various degrees.
It’s fun to see them advance, especially from the standpoint of running my own media business. But what I also see brings me to say that not one of the three of them realizes how lucky they are or how hard it is to maintain a media business; they don’t have worry about where the money comes from that pays them to do their jobs, they just have to worry about doing their jobs. By contrast, much of what I do today to make sure Zennie62Media gains revenue started via techniques I created for myself back in 2003.
In fact, Brianna Keilar was the subject.
Brianna Keilar At The 2005 NFL Draft
I met Brianna Keilar in 2005 when she was working for MTV and reporting on the activities at the 2005 NFL Draft. That happened to be my first NFL Draft as media, and under my still-current company Sports Business Simulations. What happened was that, after my attempt to bring the Super Bowl to Oakland, the NFL helped me start my web business via allowing me to cover the NFL Draft.
I have scored a number of new media firsts at the NFL Draft since then, but what I learned overall was that people are interested in people and they go online to learn about them. It was via interviewing Brianna Keilar that I learned that. But before I explain, this is how I came to meet her, as I wrote then at the SBS website (http://www.sportsbusinesssims.com/2005.nfl.draft.brianna.keilor.mtvu.ktvu.antrel.rolle.htm) :
In the room, I got a plate and sat down right in front of a television and not far from a young woman who was really all by herself, but near the room’s door; by contrast people were tables far away from the door in groups. Between bites of food and television glances, we started a conversation.
Brianna Keilar’s a 2001 Cal-Berkeley grad and a television personality who some of you may recognize if you’re students. She’s regularly seen on MTV-U and is a New York Correspondent for CBS News. At 24 years old, she’s off to a great start on a promising career that could see her as a national news anchor, a dream she realizes requires years of hard work.
But what Brianna understands, and what we talked about for a time, are the importance of relationships. In her case, she got her start as an intern at Oakland-based KTVU in 2001 and was helped by (now former) station executive Kenny Wardell, who was also of great assistance to me in opening KTVU’s library for my video crew to use as part of their work on our Super Bowl Bid. So, yes, we had a small world conversation.
Brianna credits Wardell and sports anchor Joe Fonzy for being good friends and teachers. But what she does well is establishing and maintaining relationships and seizing opportunities when they emerge. That’s how she came to be a New Yorker enjoying the professional and personal advantages of being in the media industry in a media capital.
That one page on Brianna, of all of the 13 pages I wrote on my trip to the 2005 NFL Draft, gained 20 times as much traffic as the others. I discovered that by accident, and so started to alter the code of the webpage: everything from adding special meta tags to changing the text around is subtle ways. Then installing the redone page and testing it against the objective of wanting the page to come up as the first result when one searched for Brianna Keilar.
I hit pay dirt. I also attracted the attention of a broadcast agent who proceeded to bug the shit out of me about Brianna. He wanted me to give up her email address, which I refused to do. Still, he kept after me for about three weeks, and on a regularly consistent basis – phone calls, not just emails. Dude was a shark.
So I finally informed Brianna about him, she allowed me to give him her information, and then, literally just about a year later, she wound up at CNN.
Now remember she wanted to be a national news anchor.
Now did Brianna ever say thanks for the contact? Nope. But that’s cool; I know what happened. What was most important for me was that I learned how to improve my search engine optimization skills. When CNN hired Ms.Keilar, I determined they lacked a web page about her, so I improved the design of my NFL Draft page on her – my work was still number one in a search on her for a time. When CNN made her bio page, they had several errors in its formation – I took advantage of that problem, resigned my page on her, and still managed to beat CNN’s page on her for a time, and through 2007.
And what’s the ultimate objective? Money. Running an ad or a link to buy my Sports Business Simulations’ games on the page about my interview with Ms. Keilar helped grow my business and it helped me fashion an overall media philosophy: people matter.
Still, I do wonder what would have happened if I’d just plain ignored the broadcast agent guy all together? My speculation is that Brianna would still have wound up as a national news anchor in some way, just not that specific way.
The other irony is that Brianna knows a friend of mine: Gardner Loulan, who’s one of the coolest people I know. I came to know Gardner via my friend Michael Downing, who owns Tout.com, the video app company. Last year, he and I covered the Democratic National Convention via cool deal: I got he and Tout into the DNC as press, and Tout sponsored the trip. That’s how Gardner wound up seeing Brianna again after some time: because of me.
Funny how that works.
Equally funny was how I came to know Ali Velshi. It was, first, via a video talk o CNN iReport that was a kind of economic debate, where I was convinced a different kind of stimulus approach was needed, and Ali disagreed. I ended up convincing him otherwise, and essentially won the debate. Watch:
Embedded video from CNN Video
After that, some two years later, Ali and I had a disagreement over a misplaced Twitter tweet on his part, a video blog response from me, and ultimately, this visit to CNN Time Warner:
Then, in 2013, Ali left CNN for Al Jazeera America and a new show of his own. I’m happy for Ali, but he must avoid slamming CNN by saying that what they do is what the “Old CNN” does – it just plain sounds bad. I may not like some things that CNN does, but I do like the people there. My connections with CNN go far beyond what’s presented here – why that is, I do not know. And I have a ton of CNN stories like this one….
But I know there are a lot of good, hard-working people still at that network and Ali should respect that, and them rather than tossing less than cool comments at them. I’m just happy to have my own media company and not to rely on CNN for anything.
Sara Sidner Maintains
Now every time I think of Sara Sidner, I think of how I first met her: at the home of our mutual friend Beth during the Florida / UCLA NCAA Final Four Basketball Game in 2007 (Sara went to Florida). At that time Sara was with KTVU Channel Two in Oakland.
Then Ms. Sidner got the CNN job, and eventually wound up in Mumbai, India, and married. It seemed like CNN was grooming her for Atlanta International Desk, but what do I know. It would be cool to see her there, rather than being in dangerous situations in India.
Stay tuned. My CNN World’s going to get smaller, still.
Here’s a hint: