Ali Velshi

Watch on

We speak with CNN’s chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi, about how he manages his downtime (whenever he can get it), what keeps spenders and savers together, and which one he is.

For more tips on building your personal brand and working smarter, see Amber Mac’s Work Flow series.

Brianna Keilar Gets CNN Anchor Role; Ali Velshi Slams CNN; Sara Sidner Maintains At CNN

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 ( :

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, 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:

Watch on

"Boehner is depending on some really inaccurate facts, and it troubles me."

Jan 13, 2015 Philadelphia World Heritage Cities~Luncheon

Jan 13, 2015 Philadelphia World Heritage Cities~Luncheon


THE CENTER OF TOWN.  There are 233 Heritage Cities in the World… there are none in the United States.  Continuing on realizing the dream of Philadelphia becoming a World Heritage City Influencers and the Global Philadelphia Association attended the PWHC luncheon in the City Hall Mayor’s Reception Room(The Room is surrounded by the painted portraits of 42 of the…

View On WordPress

ALI VELSHI: —I just put together a second, interactive chart explaining the first interactive map-graphic and posted it on Facebook for our slower viewers and Anderson Cooper. WOLF BLITZER: Try and keep up, Vanderbilt. ALI VELSHI: Now I just tweeted about the meta-chart. ROLAND MARTIN: And now Foursquare says I’m the mayor of the CNN Election Center. WOLF BLITZER: Some breaking news, we’ve just received word that Roland’s CNN Election Center mayorhood is now trending worldwide on Twitter.

Ali Velshi to Rick Scott: “She’s probably asked you this about four times already - why is this so difficult for you to understand, Governor?”

Hahaha, owned.

Shannon Miller awarded the Connecting People Shorty Award #NokiaConnects

The Connecting People Shorty Award, created in partnership with our friends at Nokia, was awarded to Shannon Miller (@shannonmmiller) at the 3rd Annual Shorty Awards on Monday, March 28, 2011 at TheTimesCenter in New York City. Shannon was chosen from the six finalists for the impact she’s had on her community and the creative ways she’s used the social web to connect people.

Shannon Miller is a school district librarian and technology specialist in Van Meter, Iowa. Miller uses social media tools including Twitter, Facebook, and Skype to help local students connect with their favorite authors, as well as with other students and educators around the globe. She also keeps a blog called “Van Meter Library Voice,” where she shares information about libraries, education, technnology, and Van Meter students. Miller uses social media, including Twitter, to interact with students and crowdsource information to help them. One voter wrote, “She connected me to my favorite author Amy Efaw, who I now have on Facebook and talk to her often. I am only fourteen, she has changed my life.”

For more videos from the Shorty Awards, visit our YouTube channel.

Jobless Rate Dips To 5.9%, Black Unemployment Still In Double Digits

Jobless Rate Dips To 5.9%, Black Unemployment Still In Double Digits

Al Jazeera America‘s Ali Velshi and ALF-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs joined Roland Martin on “NewsOne Now” to analyze the latest jobs numbers. The U.S. economy added 214,000 new jobs, while the jobless rate dipped to 5.9% and Black unemployment edged down to 10.9%.

Velshi told Martin “the number of jobs we’re creating every month is exactly the number of jobs Mitt Romneysaid he would…

View On WordPress

Malcolm Gladwell talks to Ali Velshi

Every child knows how the epic battle between David and Goliath ends. The stone from the shepherd’s sling strikes the Philistine warrior in the head. David, the poster boy for underdogs, beats Goliath. But in his new book, Malcolm Gladwell says we misunderstand advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps David was not the underdog we all thought him to be. It’s the author’s fifth book, following his international best-selling works"The Tipping Point" and"Blink." Al Jazeera’s Ali Velshi spoke with Gladwell recently about his popular and unconventional theories.

Ali Velshi: Congratulations on the new book, “David and Goliath,” an interesting name because you turn the story that we’ve all thought about as David and Goliath on its head. I think even the most critical thinkers among us would not have thought of an other explanation than it was improbable that David would have beaten Goliath. And you take an entirely different look at this. You’re saying that not only was it probable that David would have felled Goliath, but it was statistically likely.

Read more

Photo: Al Jazeera America

Ali Velshi, host for Al Jazeera America, gives Mama the inside scoop on the network’s goals. Stephanie says, “Al Jazeera is really doing journalism.” Velshi agrees and says, “Al Jazeera is very interested in topics that will relate to American viewers.” He also speaks about Al Jazeera’s emphasis on talking to real people who Velshi says truly show where the country is in economic recovery.

Stephanie and Velshi also talk numbers on the latest jobs report and how it’s impacted by sequester. Watch the full interview here.