NBC News is hiring former National Public Radio chief Vivian Schiller, who left this year in the midst of a political controversy, to run its digital operation.
Schiller resigned under pressure as NPR president and CEO earlier this year after a conservative activist caught a former NPR fundraiser calling the tea party movement racist. NPR's management was also criticized last year for how it handled commentator Juan Williams' firing.
At NBC, Schiller will oversee the company's websites and mobile phone venture. She is filling the newly created position of chief digital officer. Before joining NPR, Schiller was general manager of The New York Times website and helped run the Discovery Times channel.
NBC News President Steve Capus said Thursday that Schiller's unpleasant ending at NPR had no effect on the consideration of her for the NBC job.
"The only aspect of the NPR experience that came into play is that, by all accounts, she took a radio network and turned it into a brilliant multi-platform organization, and she did the same thing with the newspaper website when she worked at The New York Times," Capus said. "That's why she got the digital job at NBC News."
He raved about NPR's tablet app and said Schiller was one of the top news executives working in the digital area.
Besides the general news site MSNBC.com, NBC News has new digital properties in EducationNation.com and theGrio.com, the latter a site devoted to news particularly affecting black Americans. NBC is also planning other targeted news sites, though Capus would not provide any details about them.
"We have a lot going on in the digital space and brilliant people running them," he said. "I just needed an executive to pull it all together."