Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

NewsNation head of marketing and UA alum returns to campus for Republican debate

Courtesy of Jonathan Killian

As NewsNation Network prepares to host the upcoming fourth GOP presidential primary debate on campus Wednesday, Jonathan Killian, the company’s vice president of creative marketing and brand communications, is preparing to return to his alma mater.  

Killian, who graduated from the University in 1994, worked for CNN International, including four years as the executive director of creative and brand development, for more than 12 years before joining NewsNation in January 2021. 

He spoke to The Crimson White to provide information regarding the upcoming debate and reflect on his return for the event. 

Killian said that when he joined NewsNation, it was only a programming block on WGN America. It has evolved since then into a 24-hour cable news network. 

“I just viewed this as a special opportunity,” Killian said. “How often do you get a chance to build a news network from scratch?” 

He said the network’s target audience is Americans who fall between Republicans and Democrats ideologically. 

“Most of the people in the middle are not being served,” Killian said. “So we set out to build a network that is programmed for them.” 

Killian said NewsNation currently runs 24 hours of news five days a week. 

“This time next year, we will be 24/7,” he said. 

Megyn Kelly from SiriusXM, Elizabeth Vargas from NewsNation and Eliana Johnson from The Washington Free Beacon will host the upcoming debate.  

Killian said the debate’s moderators were selected by the Republican National Committee.  

“Elizabeth Vargas was clearly part of our pitch,” he said. 

The event will take place at Moody Music Building, and Killian said the RNC oversees the ticketing process. Although the SGA was given 50 tickets to distribute to student organizations, the general public has no way of purchasing tickets to the debate. 

“Moody Music Building seats just under a thousand, and we expect every seat in the house to be full,” Killian said.  

During his time as a student, Killian was a drum major for the Million Dollar Band and a columnist for The Crimson White. He first set foot in Moody Music Building when he performed there as a high school sophomore. 

“This is very much a personal homecoming for me, so not only an important professional milestone, but to be able to do it at my alma mater … that’s pretty exciting to me,” Killian said. 

More to Discover