Peacock taps ABC vets for election team

Lukasiewicz to coordinate special events, head political group

NEW YORK — Hiring away a veteran Washington journalist from ABC, NBC News announced Tuesday a special political team that will coordinate election coverage for all Peacock properties.

“Decision 2004” brigade is part of a redoubled effort by NBC News prexy Neal Shapiro to take advantage of having so many distribution platforms — broadcast net, two cable news channels, Spanish-language Telemundo and a radio net.

The strategy paid off during the Iraqi war, with NBC News correspondents appearing regularly on MSNBC and CNBC, for example. MSNBC, the No. 3 cable net, saw a sudden climb in ratings as the network news division continually referred viewers to the cable channel.

Political team will be headed by Mark Lukasiewicz, named Tuesday to the post of exec producer of NBC News Specials and Special Projects. In the new job, Lukasiewicz will coordinate all special events coverage, elections or otherwise.

“We really have a unique model. NBC is uniquely positioned in this way,” Lukasiewicz said. “We want to create a coverage machine that can cover all these different audiences with NBC property.”

NBC scored in recent days when signing top ABC News staffer Elizabeth Wilner as the new political director. Wilner had been stationed in ABC’s Washington bureau and was co-author of “The Note,” a must-read political sheet distributed via email.

On the new NBC team, Wilner will coordinate editorial coverage as the presidential and congressional 2004 elections swing into full gear.

Other teammates include Philip Alongi, named executive director of NBC News Specials Planning. Alongi, who has been with the news net for 25 years, has long coordinated the net’s coverage of major events.

NBC News staffer Beth O’Connell will also work on the team and was named the new exec producer for NBC News Radio.

In making the announcement, Shapiro said NBC News will now be best positioned to tackle the “next big story”– the 2004 elections.

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