Franklin Named News Director At WDSU

Akili Franklin

NEW ORLEANS – WDSU-TV announced that Akili Franklin will become the station’s news director effective March 21, 2016.

         Franklin joined WDSU in January from Hearst Television sister station WVTM in Birmingham, AL, as assistant news director. She has worked almost exclusively within the Hearst Television family of stations since 2004.

         “As a native of New Orleans, Akili brings the ideal blend of excellent news judgment and a deep appreciation and understanding of our region and culture,” said WDSU President and General Manager Joel Vilmenay. “She has a passion for storytelling and an absolute commitment to journalistic integrity. We look forward to her leadership in the newsroom.”  

         Franklin hails from the Crescent City and her return to New Orleans earlier this year was a homecoming, both personally and professionally. She began her career in news as an associate producer for WWL-TV, but her ambition was always to find her way to the station that inspired her as a child. “I grew up watching WDSU,” said Franklin. “This was the station my family trusted and the station that motivated me to pursue a career in broadcast news. I am thrilled for the opportunity to be a part of its future.”

         Franklin earned her B.A. in Mass Communications and Broadcasting from Hampton University in Virginia. After her start at WWL-TV in 2002, Franklin joined WPBF in West Palm Beach, FL as a news producer in 2004. After a brief time as a producer at WFOR in Miami, she returned to Hearst Television in 2006 as a news producer at WYFF in Greenville, SC. Four years after her promotion to executive producer at WYFF, she joined WVTM in Birmingham in 2015, where she was part of the team that helped bring about a dramatic improvement in newscast ratings for the station.

         Franklin assumes the role left open by former news director Jonathan Shelley who is pursuing other opportunities.

         Hearst Television, a national multi-media company, owns and operates 30 local television stations and two local radio stations, serving 26 television markets across 39 states, and reaching approximately 21 million U.S. television households. The company broadcasts more than 60 video channels, featuring local and national news, weather, information, sports and entertainment programming, and local community service-oriented programs. The stations operate digital on-line and mobile platforms, reaching more than 25 million monthly unique visitors that extend the company’s brands and content to local, national and international audiences.  Hearst Television is recognized as one of the industry's premier companies, and has been honored with numerous awards for distinguished journalism, industry innovation, and community service. Hearst Television is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst.

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