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MTV News Goes Digital With Editorial Director Hire

MTV, whose young viewers are increasingly online and streaming, hired a digital media executive as editorial director of its MTV News unit.

Dan Fierman was named VP and editorial director of MTV News. He helped launch and was editorial director of Grantland, the ESPN digital magazine covering sports and culture created by Bill Simmons, who left ESPN this year and joined HBO.

MTV News was once known for programs like The Week in Rock and documentaries on issues including AIDS and gun control. Anchors including Tabitha Soren and SuChin Pak hosted specials and interviewed presidential candidates.

Earlier this year, David Sirulnick, who had been executive VP for multiplatform production, news and music at MTV, and also produced shows like Total Request Live and the Video Music Awards, left the network after 28 years, as part of a cost-cutting and restructuring wave.

MTV said it relaunched MTV News in 2014 on a new digital platform with an expanded editorial team. While parent company Viacom’s TV ratings and ad revenues have been declining as young viewers go digital, MTV says MTV News’ online traffic has grown to more than 40 million monthly unique visitors, up 97% from last year. It has a worldwide social media footprint of more than 210 million followers.

Last month, MTV named a new president, Sean Atkins, who had been general manager and executive VP of digital media strategy at Discovery Communications, an appointment that signaled that digital had become an important way in which MTV would be able to remain relevant to younger audiences.

Fierman will report to Colin Helms, senior VP of digital media for MTV.

“Dan is a top flight talent we’ve long admired for his ability to cut through and put something fresh, unique, and smart into the cultural conversation,” said Kristin Frank, executive VP of connected content for Viacom Music & Entertainment Group. “We’ve driven tremendous growth since relaunching MTV News a year ago and, with Dan on board, we’re in a great position to sharpen our editorial point of view and connect with even more impact.”

At Grantland, Fierman oversaw a team that won an Emmy for documentary short films, Webby nominations and three American Society of Magazine Editors awards nominations. He began his career at Entertainment Weekly.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.