Dylan Byers, a regular journalistic presence on the media and technology beats in recent years, is jumping to NBC News and MSNBC from CNN. Byers is expected to join the NBCUniversal-owned news outlets next month.
The jump marks a blow of sorts to CNN, for which Byers in March launched a newsletter called “Pacific” that covered the convergence of technology and entertainment from Los Angeles. Byers joined CNN in 2015 after serving stints at Politico and Adweek. He graduated from Bard College. At NBCU, he is expected to cover media, Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
“The impact of big tech is far-reaching – changing our culture, politics, commerce and much more. Naturally, Dylan will focus on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Netflix, but he’ll also keep a sharp eye on emerging players,”said NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and MSNBC President Phil Griffin in a memo to staffers. “His work will appear across all our television and digital platforms, including the newly redesigned Tech & Media vertical on NBCNews.com, and he will of course continue his essential newsletter.”
A CNN spokesman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
TV-news outlets continue to woo big-name TV anchors, as NBC News did in 2017 when it lured Megyn Kelly from Fox News Channel. But TV isn’t the only screen on which these news stalwarts compete, and Byers’ hire suggests there is also a market in experts who can lend voice to coverage of a juicy niche that can attract attention via digital formats. To be sure, Byers has been on TV, but he’s never served as a regular anchor on CNN’s schedule.
NBC News has made noise before about covering the shifting terrain of the media and entertainment industries. In September of last year, NBC News said it would launch a digital “vertical” devoted to media coverage and hired former New York Post reporter Claire Atkinson as a senior editor to guide the effort. NBC News has posted dispatches looking at everything from ESPN to Amazon to the recent corporate chaos at CBS Corp., and has launched a blog, but the larger effort appears as yet unrealized.
“Pacific,” though less than a year old, has begun to gain traction in some circles. A suggestion in one recent edition that politicians who might campaign against President Donald Trump hire their own executive producers, as Trump has with former Fox News co-president Bill Shine, got passed around after Byers suggested it August 13. But there have been missteps as well. On August 1, Byers told readers in the hours before CBS Corp.’s most recent earnings discussion with investors that CBS CEO Leslie Moonves “is prepared to address the recent allegations of sexual misconduct, as well as the legal battle with Shari Redstone over the future of the company” that have been in the news as of late, citing an anonymous source. Listeners to that call were told in its opening minutes that CBS executives would not discuss those subjects.