“The why behind the headlines”: What to expect from new 10 News management

10 News

• “This is the future of news”

In late September, 10 ViacomCBS announced the appointment of Martin White as head of broadcast news and Rashell Habib as head of digital news and strategy. This followed the resignation of Ross Dagan as 10 Network‘s director of news content, after he took a role as the executive vice president for news operations & transformation for CBS News & Stations at CBS.

White and Habib have taken newly created roles while reporting directly to the chief content officer and executive vice president of ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand, Beverley McGarvey.

Mediaweek spoke with the pair about what their appointments mean for the future of news at 10 ViacomCBS.

These two roles replace Ross Dagan’s 10 Network director of news content role. Why was it important to create a split between digital and broadcast and how will the two sides interact moving forward?

White: “This is the future of news – looking holistically at how we create news content and what platform it works best on. It makes sense to set our organisation up to really exploit every opportunity.”

Habib: “I wouldn’t call it a split as more a focus for each. Broadcast and digital overlap in multiple ways, but a focus on each was needed to map out the current and future news space 10 News is looking at. The two sides work in parallel.”

Will this change affect the content direction of 10 News? Any new additions or changes planned?

White: “Our focus is on explanation and context. The why behind the headlines. It’s an evolution of our approach, rather than a change in content direction.”

10 is the under 50’s network, how does this change how you approach news content compared to other broadcasters and publishers?

Habib: “It’s no secret how news is consumed changes through age categories, and technical advancements, with more and more young news consumers accessing news online and through social media. They need more than just what happened but why? 10 News First is the news of the now and what sets us apart is we look at the why, and we explain the news without talking down to audiences.”

With 10 Daily being shut down last year, where does 10 stand on digital content moving forward?

Habib: “Digital content at 10 News First continues – just beyond the written word iteration. Whether it’s streaming news, Live Q&As on YouTube, explainer carousels on Instagram and bespoke video series that sit on multiple platforms, that intersect broadcast and digital audiences.”

10 runs its nightly news bulletin earlier than Seven and Nine. Is this a practice that you thinks continues to benefit 10?

White: “Right now it is. Our viewers know when and where to find us, and I see no reason for that to change. We’re really comfortable in our space, and know what our viewers want.”

What do you think is important about news coverage in 2021?

White: “News audiences are more engaged than they’ve ever been, over a variety of mediums. There’s now more data, more information and more opinion available on any story. It’s up to us to take that, refine it, and present it in an unbiased, objective way. In an age where misinformation has never been more prevalent – our jobs have become both harder, and more important than ever.” 

Habib: “If COVID has shown us anything, it’s that people want to know what is happening in the now, all the details as they happen, they want to know the peripheral stories around the big news events and most importantly how it impacts them. There has been and will continue to be a much bigger focus on ‘how the news impacts me’ on platforms beyond the traditional news mediums.”

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