Next Avenue hires staff nationwide for “virtual organization”

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Next Avenue, which has been called “the biggest public media initiative being undertaken anywhere in public broadcasting,” has hired a staff of eight and so far raised $6 million in foundation money for the web-based project designed to “hyper-serve” America’s aging population. Staffers will be located in New York, St. Paul, Denver and Washington, D.C., creating “an interesting new model for a public television station — a virtual organization — as well as journalism hubs across the country,” the initiative, based at Twin Cities Public Television, announced on Monday (Nov. 28).

The hires: Donna Sapolin will be Next Avenue’s vice president, editorial director and general manager; she’s former editor-in-chief of This Old House magazine and vice president/editorial director of Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications. Larry Carlat will be managing editor, he’s a veteran editorial director and media exec who led creative web operations for several publications including Rolling Stone. Richard Eisenberg will be senior web editor for the Money & Security and Work & Purpose sections of the site; he spent 19 years at Money magazine as a writer and editor and created the Best Places to Live in America feature there, and most recently was front page finance programmer for Yahoo.com. Suzanne Gerber will be senior web editor for Living & Learning; she has worked as a senior editor at InStyle and Redbook magazines, as well as editor-in-chief of Vegetarian Times. Marilynn Larkin will be senior web editor, Health & Well-Being and Caregiving, she was a contributing editor to The Lancet and is author of five consumer health books. Judith Graham will be editor at large; she has worked as an investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune and shared a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 2001, as well as authored a monthly column on aging and a blog on consumer health. Carla Baranauckas will be copy editor, she has spent 21 years as an editor at the New York Times in sports, metro, national, regional arts and continuous news. Liza Hogan will be content partnership manager; she was a new media consultant in Chicago, where she taught online journalism and legal reporting at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and produced online features for Oprah.com.

Two dozen public television stations have signed on as Next Avenue affiliates. The site is expected to launch in April 2012.