John Townriss


BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY

    Executive with global experience in journalism and media, diplomacy and sensitive negotiations, humanitarian efforts and major television production gained over 20 years of building CNN from vision to dominant international news organization. Perceptive of today's cultural and geo-political issues with ability to effectively communicate with people, governments and agencies of all types, levels and cultures. Equally capable in solving large organizational issues and tactical implementation problems. Forward thinking with conceptualization experience. Proven organizational and motivational skills effective in launching new ventures or the makeover of those needing revitalization. Articulate advocate of company mission in public speaking or published writings. Comfortable working in crisis situations with high degree of chaos and need for steady hand. Highly knowledgeable of useful "connect points" in media and politics with broad array of personal and professional acquaintances. Balanced with compassionate but strong leadership style and reputation for integrity.


PROFESSIONAL RECORD

    Executive Management/Leadership: As Deputy Bureau Chief for CNN in Washington refocused and revitalized newsgathering operations in one of the world's leading news centers. Included overhaul of operations/systems/reporting lines, changing key personnel and establishing clear mission that changed under-performing unit with low morale to top performing unit in the network recognized for it's cohesiveness and coverage of major stories such as the White House intern scandal, the Presidential election battle at the Supreme Court and the aftermath of the Pentagon and World Trade Center terrorists attacks. Experience gained spawned development of 8-point "management commitment" document to guide fairness and ethics in management.

    Diplomacy/Negotiation: On multiple occasions have successfully represented CNN and/or U.S. networks as a group in negotiations with foreign and domestic governments, agencies and media outlets. Negotiated exclusive broadcast positions and relationships for CNN during 1997 Hong Kong Handover to China, 1995 20th anniversary for end of Vietnam War, 1993 Funeral of Japanese Emperor Hirohito, 1990 Economic Summit in London and others. Oversaw CNN relationship with embassies in Washington during sensitive stories (Chinese embassy and Cuban mission as two examples). Have consistently developed both long-term and short-term relationships that were beneficial to CNN and have worked to maintain those relationships in good standing.

    Crisis Management: During Gulf War, led CNN's first team into Kuwait during conclusion of ground war. Negotiated access with various military entities, found food, shelter, protection for initial team of 15 and eventually ~ in environment with no power, no fuel, no water. During 1991 failed coup attempt in Soviet Union was able to negotiate into country without visa and directed CNN coverage of all events as government teetered on brink of chaos. Negotiated production details of crisis interviews with Gorbachev, rising political leader Yeltsin and first-ever live interview from inside the KGB. Have worked in multiple hostile/dangerous situations including El Salvador/Nicaragua in early 1980's and Beirut, Syria and Vietnam in later years.

    Project/Idea oversight: Have successfully overseen and shepherded numerous major projects from conception to completion for CNN. Includes political convention coverage and production in 1988, 1992, 1996, most major world leader summits between 1987-1997. Appointed to oversee special joint project with international sales and marketing divisions that took CNN's 3 main programs to Tokyo and Hong Kong during 1990's for audience development. Included oversight of budgets ranging up to 7-figures and management of project staff between 50-300.

    Idea Development: After merger announcement with AOL, offered and then was asked by CEO to author white paper on CNN and AOL integration resulting in 20-page future driven document outlining use of developing technology to join CNN and AOL. In 1995, developed and served as first Executive Producer for "Prize for Peace," an exclusive CNN program with the Nobel Peace Prize winner in partnership with the Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway. Program still produced today and has gained major corporate sponsorship.

    Humanitarian/Father: As humanitarian have participated in 2 overseas relief missions to help youth in Bosnia-Herzegovina in late 1990's. Merged recognition of global problem of unwanted children to family goals to adopt 3 children from Kazakhstan. Chronicled November international adoption trip in real time on CNN.Com sharing personal insights, advice and experience. Well-received journalistic work that has since generated dozens of adoption applications to highlighted adoption agencies.


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