our people posts

Dec 4th 2013

Brian Balthazar Joins AOL As Executive Producer and Head of Programming For AOL.com

I'm thrilled to announce that Brian Balthazar is joining AOL.com as Executive Producer and Head of Programming. Brian's experience is unparalleled and unique – he has original TV programming expertise as well as a world-class production background. He will play a leading role in the future of AOL.com as we program a loved and engaging destination for our loyal viewers. He is one of the most creative and talented people in the programming industry today, and we're looking forward to Brian officially joining our team in January.

In addition, Brian is a nationally recognized pop culture expert who has spent his entire career managing premiere consumer media brands.

He joins AOL from HGTV where he was Director of Original Programming and Development -- overseeing more than 500 hours of programming for many of the network's most popular titles and some of my personal favorites, like "House Hunters" and "Selling New York/Selling LA."

Prior to HGTV, Brian spent many years at NBC and the Today Show, where he launched the very successful fourth hour of "TODAY" with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

I sat down with Brian recently to get his thoughts on joining the AOL family.

Oct 8th 2013

AOL Women in Technology: Spotlight On Piya Ghosh

Growing numbers of women are choosing careers in technology, science, math and related areas, but these fields are still heavily populated by men. And while AOL's technology division includes accomplished women at many levels – including a female Chief Architect, relatively rare in the industry – the Company aims to attract even more women and is working to do so. In this special series, get to know AOL's own tech trailblazers, what they're working on and what they've learned along the way. Today, we chat with HuffPost developer Piya Ghosh.

What's your role at AOL?
I'm a software engineer with the Huffington Post Tech team. I develop and maintain front-end components of our very high traffic and ever-growing website. I also work on building new tools, platforms and tech solutions using the latest technologies to optimize the site, reduce page load time and overall make HuffPost more and more awesome every day.

What technical skills do you bring to the table?
My technical skill includes front-end technologies, including HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, jQuery and SASS and languages such as PHP, Ruby and Java. I also have extensive knowledge of SEO, cross-browser compatibility and site optimization.

One of the cool things about working here is that you learn new things every day -- new languages, new tools and new ways to make the web more appealing. I've recently started coding in Scala and learning about functional programming for one of my new projects, and I'm loving every bit of it.

What was your path to your current position?
After earning my bachelor's degree in software engineering, I started my career with AOL Member Services at our Bangalore office before moving to a team where I was responsible for supporting publishing tools. Later, I worked on different and exciting projects, such as multi-authentication testing, implementation of a web analytics tool, page optimization and the redesign and building of several AOL Lifestyle sites.

I moved on to work as one of the main developers for Stylelist.com, beginning with migrating the site from one platform to another and then redesigning it. I also worked on another redesign of the site to accommodate our Devil premium format ads. I became a part of the Huffington Post tech team in 2011. I'm also one of AOL's cultural ambassadors and proud to be a part of that team.
AOL has played a big role in making me who I am today, and I'm grateful for that. I've worked with the most amazing people in an all-inclusive and fun environment. The managers I've worked with have given me freedom and encouragement, which has made me a more responsible person and willing to take risks. They've also helped me gain confidence to become a lead on different projects. I could keep talking about the awesomeness I experience every day, but I'll conclude by saying that AOL is an inseparable part of me, and that makes me happy and proud.

What or who motivated you to go into technology?
After high school I spent about a year trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. During this period I took a computer class and started learning C. The day I saw one of my first program's logic work beautifully, I knew what I wanted to study and went to college to study software engineering. I was also influenced and encouraged by my dad who's an engineer himself.

What's one lesson you've learned that you think other women could benefit from?
I think half the battle is won when you overcome preconceived notions about becoming a woman engineer, and you have complete self-confidence. One thing I've learned is that you need to be visible, proactive and take the lead when required. Also, being a geek is awesome!

For updates and the latest news from AOL, follow @AOLPR on Twitter.

Jun 4th 2013

Douglas Miller Named Board Chair Of The Network Advertising Initiative

Today, Douglas Miller, Global Privacy Leader of AOL Inc., was announced as Board Chair for The Network Advertising Initiative's (NAI) 2013-2015 Board of Directors and new Executive Committee. Douglas Miller will serve a two-year term on the Executive Committee to drive the NAI's continued evolution in self-regulation.

The entire NAI Board of Directors is comprised of 12 member-elected privacy and digital media veterans. This group will work closely with Marc Groman, Executive Director and General Counsel, along with the entire staff to work towards the organization's mission of drafting, creating and overseeing the self-regulation of the third-party online ad industry through enforceable standards and ongoing compliance efforts.

The NAI board members on the Executive Committee include:

  • Board Chair: Douglas Miller, Vice President and Global Policy Leader, AOL Inc.
  • Vice Chair: Alan Chapell, Outside Counsel, Privacy Officer, BlueKai
  • Treasurer: Shane Wiley, Vice President, Privacy and Data Governance, Yahoo!
  • Secretary: Noga Rosenthal, Senior VP and General Counsel, 24/7 Media and Media Innovation Group

Additional returning and newly appointed NAI board members include:

To learn more about NAI's Board of Directors, click here.

Feb 22nd 2012

What's Driving AOL.com: An Interview with Executive News Editor, Neil Katz

"People react to amazing stories," says Neil Katz, executive news editor, AOL.com, and "our job is to entertain, to educate, to make people laugh, to cry, and to enrich their lives."

Katz joined the company nine months ago from CBSNews.com, where he was the executive editor. Since joining, Katz and his team have doubled the volume of content on AOL.com and are now updating the page on a minute-by-minute basis.

We recently sat down with Katz to learn more about the editorial approach to AOL.com, which-according to comScore -- reaches 13 million daily and is one of the main properties of AOL. Neil describes AOL.com's goal as "continuing to develop our relationship with the American public by making our stories even more engaging."

So, what's the key to AOL.com's approach? "We're driving the social conversation. The audience is the twelfth man on the field," says Katz. "People are no longer content to be passive recipients of information and news. They're active contributors, and our level of social engagement is off the charts. We're a social media rocket ship."

When he first joined AOL, Katz's immediate task was to re-energize his staff of 17 editors, which Katz describes as a group of the most professional team players in online news.

AOL.com's readership peak is lunchtime to five p.m. as people logon to catch-up on news and check on their AOL email. The editorial team starts each day early by researching what's going on around the nation and the world, to connect people to the "amazing stories that are really happening." Katz describes their approach as great storytelling "from the mom who's fighting to keep her family safe to the superstar that's fighting to keep her name out of the news." The Huffington Post is now fully integrated into AOL.com and according to Katz, "provides readers with around a thousand pieces of content a day."

What drives Neil Katz? His favorite stories are ones that say something about America. His personal favorite is the original ten-part text and video series about severely wounded soldiers and their struggle to make their lives whole again after war. The videos were viewed more than a million times. One of AOL.com's most popular stories was a recent feature honoring the 17 American Navy Seals who were killed when their Chinook helicopter was shot down during a night raid in Afghanistan. The tragedy happened just two months after the Seal's successful bin Laden mission.

"I love telling amazing stories," says Katz. At CBSNews.com, he helped make the site one of the fastest growing digital news destinations through the development of new sections and blogs, from health to entertainment. Katz also played a role in the creation and successes of new properties, most notably, Crimesider, now a leader in true-crime reporting. Prior to CBSNews.com, Katz field produced for CBS television and was a freelance journalist for the New YorkTimes' online video unit, PBS, the Star Ledger and others. He's reported from India, Iran and Vietnam. When he's not orchestrating AOL.com, Neil is passionate about photography and global travel.

What is Katz's vision for AOL.com? "At a time when print and broadcast news outlets are ducking for cover, AOL.com and the Huffington Post are surging ahead. We're pioneering new forms of journalism for a huge audience, and our goal is to bring it to the world. We measure our progress if the readers come tomorrow."

Follow Neil on Twitter at @neilkatz and http://www.neilkatzphoto.com.

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