ABC producer Slavin atop news

Senior VP to improve affil relationships

NEW YORK — Intent on repairing affiliate relations, ABC News said Monday it’s upping “World News Tonight” exec producer Paul Slavin to a newly created ambassadorship.

As senior veep of ABC News, Slavin will manage the net’s entire worldwide newsgathering operation. Part of that task will include working closely with affils and managing ABC NewsOne, the affiliate news service.

Slavin also will manage ABC News Radio, ABCNews.com and ABC News Special Events.

No replacement was named at “World News.” Slavin will continue in his duties there until the position is filled.

Slavin, who joined ABC as a desk assistant in 1979, said one of his primary goals as exec producer of “World News” has been to improve affil relations.

“In this new role, I am eager to extend that partnership throughout every aspect of the news division,” Slavin said in a statement.

“The news business is a very competitive one and we need to put every aspect we have toward one mission: ensuring ABC News programming is the best and most comprehensive it can be.”

News coincided with the arrival of ABC affils in Gotham for a meeting Wednesday as well as to attend the net’s upfront session today.

Sure to be discussed at the affiliate meeting are two recent screwups by the network.

The first came on the day of the Columbia space shuttle breakup. Peeved affils said the net’s news coverage wasn’t extensive enough.

The next goof came on the first night of the war in Iraq, when the network ended live special coverage without properly notifying affils. Consequently, affils went to black.

ABC execs profusely apologized on both occasions.

Slavin said he attended an affiliate board of governors meeting Monday, and that the reception was good.

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