The Cook Political Report is proud to announce that Elizabeth Wilner is joining the Report as Contributing Editor and will write regularly about political and advocacy advertising and the use of consumer marketing research in political campaigns. Wilner’s contributions will feature advertising data gathered by her firm, the highly respected Kantar Media Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), where she is vice president.
Wilner and CMAG also will contribute editorial guidance and data-driven graphics about political and advocacy advertising to the Report. In 2012, the nonpartisan CMAG provided TV advertising data and analysis to both presidential nominees’ campaigns, both national party committees, numerous outside groups, and news media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, Bloomberg News, CBS News, CNN, NPR and the “PBS Newshour.” Wilner also wrote a weekly column on 2012 presidential advertising for Advertising Age.
“I can’t think of anyone better equipped to keep our subscribers informed about this increasingly critical aspect of campaigning,” said Cook Political Report Editor and Publisher Charlie Cook. “Elizabeth’s experience in political analysis, advertising analysis and coverage of elections and advocacy means she can explain developments to our audience in ways they can appreciate and apply themselves.”
“We just saw an election in which ‘big data’ beat big spending and targeting trumped tonnage when it came to advertising,” Wilner said. “I’m excited to track the reverberations of this for an audience as politically hyper-attuned and loaded with practitioners as The Cook Political Report’s, and to support the Report’s editors with guidance about advertising.”
The role is a homecoming for Wilner, whose first work in political journalism was for The Cook Political Report. She served as Senate/Governor Editor for the 1994 election cycle, as House Editor for the 1996 cycle, and as Managing Editor before departing the Report in 1997. As Deputy Political Director of ABC News from 1998 to 2003, she co-founded ABC’s “The Note.” In 2003, Wilner became the first Political Director of NBC News, establishing the centralized NBC Political Unit, founding its popular political blog “First Read,” and managing its partnership in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. She also organized NBC’s presidential primary debates and supervised the reporting of MSNBC’s 2004 campaign embed team.
Wilner’s contributions continue the expansion of expertise being offered to Cook Political Report subscribers after ABC News Political Director Amy Walter joined as National Editor last month. Both Wilner and Walter, also a Report alumnus, are former network political directors. Their columns and other contributions will appear on CookPolitical.com alongside those of Editor Charlie Cook, Senate/Governor Editor Jennifer Duffy, and House Editor David Wasserman. Founded in 1984, The Cook Political Report is an independent, nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns. The New York Times called the Report “a newsletter than both parties regard as authoritative.”
While at CMAG, Wilner has continued to consult on network presidential debates and for the NBC News Decision Desk. She has a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Wilner lives in New York with her husband John Reiss, executive producer of political programming and of “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on MSNBC, and their daughter.