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International Video Exec Joins UNC-TV Starting October 5

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, 9/2/2020—UNC-TV, North Carolina’s PBS network, has named Justine MK Schmidt as the network’s new chief content officer (CCO). In the role of CCO, Schmidt will lead transformational programming and content development strategies that advance the network’s mission “to educate, inform, entertain and inspire the people of North Carolina.” She is also responsible for day-to-

Schmidt will join UNC-TV as Chief Content Officer starting October 5, 2020.

day operations of all linear and asynchronous content on the network’s four over-the-air channels and online platforms.

Having spent her formative years in North Carolina, Schmidt’s career has taken her all over the world. She is a graduate of Duke University in Durham, with graduate studies at the American University School of Communication in Washington, DC, and the University of California at San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where she earned a Master of Applied Science in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.

The opportunity to return to North Carolina and help tell its stories were decisive factors for Schmidt. “I’m excited to return to my roots, to family and to a state I cherish deeply—one which offers so many opportunities for storytelling. It is rich in tradition, talent and ingenuity across the board.”

While not limiting herself to any specific genre, Schmidt seeks to elevate stories of the arts, culture history and science, while continuing the network’s commitment to quality programming by, for and about North Carolina and its people. “I am impressed by UNC-TV’s unwavering commitment to excellence and diversity,” Schmidt said. “I expect UNC-TV will continue serving as an incubator for new talent and fresh ideas. We already have a wealth of great content; my job will be to help bolster our programming, harness the talents of our Content team and strengthen UNC-TV's position as a leader in the public media landscape.”

An award-winning filmmaker and media executive, Schmidt brings more than 25 years of experience in all areas of content acquisition, development and production. She has served as a key member of various linear and digital platform launches, including Smithsonian’s newest global networks, Discovery’s global channels, M Media and Alhurra TV, where she served as Director of Programming from 2003-2009. From 1995-2003, Schmidt was supervising producer and manager of Programming and Program Acquisitions for Discovery’s International Networks, crossing 110 countries and 36 languages.

“Justine brings a rare breadth of experience and creative versatility to this critical role in a career spanning sectors and genres, from major breaking news across the Middle East to Smithsonian’s Incredible Animal Moments,” says UNC-TV CEO Lindsay Bierman. “Her sharp, critical eye, love of storytelling, and considerable talents as a producer and programmer will strengthen and elevate the network’s lineup in public affairs, culture, and lifestyle across all our channels and platforms.”

Schmidt has garnered various CINE and Emmy awards and overseen the production of some of the highest rating non-fiction programs on network television. She co-produced the Smithsonian Channel’s eight-part original series Pacific War in Color, which continues to perform as one of the highest rating series for the network. She has also produced a range of award-winning content across multiple media properties, including National Geographic, MTV and CNN’s digital platforms.

About UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina

As North Carolina’s statewide PBS network serving the country’s third-largest public media market, UNC-TV educates, informs, entertains and inspires its statewide audience on-air, online and in-person. Through its unique partnership of public investment and private support, the statewide network includes in-person engagement, digital-first social and online content delivery, and four over-the-air channels—UNC-TV PBS & More, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS KIDS and the Explorer Channel. Its transformational events and content spark curiosity and wonder for all North Carolinians. Additionally, UNC-TV serves as the backbone for North Carolina’s state’s emergency services. Visit  and join the conversation at,,  and  @publicmediaNC  on Twitter.