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Beliefnet founder leaves for FCC

By Ed O'Keefe

Beliefnet.com founder and editor in chief Steven Waldman will resign to join the Federal Communications Commission as a senior adviser to Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Waldman and magazine publisher Robert Nylen created the popular religion news and debate Web site in 1999 and sold it to News Corporation in 2007. Religion is one of the most popular topic of interest among Web users.

Waldman will join the FCC in November and focus on "big picture" issues as the media landscape continues to evolve.

“Very few things could have lured me away from Beliefnet," Waldman said in a statement.

"Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the FCC, made me an offer I really couldn’t say no to: leading an effort to ensure that we have a vibrant media landscape.”

Waldman previously served as an editor at US News & World Report and a national correspondent for Newsweek.

In a statement, Genachowski called Waldman "uniquely qualified" to look at the changing media landscape.

"He was an award-winning journalist in traditional media and then became an Internet pioneer -- launching, running, and bringing to profitability one of the great content success stories. He’s also known for his even-handedness and has garnered respect from people of widely different ideologies and approaches," Genachowski said.

FCC commissioners voted unanimously last week to begin crafting rules to preserve "net neutrality" by preventing Internet providers from acting as gatekeepers over which services and content are delivered to their customers.

Genachowski has pulled several other advisers from the media world, including washingtonpost.com's former general counsel. Waldman's departure also means a promotion for Ju-Don Roberts, a former washingtonpost.com editor who joined Beliefnet earlier this year.

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 28, 2009; 3:27 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door  
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