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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, Emmy-Nominated Filmmaker and Immigrants Rights Activist Jose Antonio Vargas to Join TheMaven Network

Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of the non-profit organization Define American and the media start-up #EmergingUS, is bringing his insights about race, immigration, identity and citizenship to the new digital media network TheMaven (symbol MVEN).

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170217005188/en/

Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American (Photo: Business Wire)

Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American (Photo: Business Wire)

“Jose is a bold and compelling journalist, filmmaker and advocate for the underdog,” said James Heckman, CEO of TheMaven. “This is the meeting of his brilliant mind and unique point of view, with our state-of-the-art platform.”

Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and media entrepreneur whose work centers on the changing American identity and elevating the conversation around immigration and citizenship. His channel on TheMaven, launching this spring, will have a similar focus.

“I am thrilled to be a partner in what promises to be a pioneering media company,” Vargas says of TheMaven. “James and his team have an unimpeachable track record in building digital properties. In a crowded media ecosystem, I am confident that TheMaven will make its mark and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

A former Washington Post reporter and Huffington Post editor, Vargas is the CEO of Define American, which he launched in 2011 with the aim of using powerful, real-life storytelling to advocate for immigrants and their families and promote an environment in which they are seen as human beings. In 2011, the New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay Vargas wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, Vargas appeared on the cover of Time Magazine alongside other undocumented immigrants, with the headline “Not Legal, Not Leaving.” In one of the rare instances in the history of Time, Vargas wrote the cover story himself.

In addition to his advocacy work, Vargas is also a media entrepreneur, producing original video content through #EmergingUS. He has produced three documentaries, including the autobiographical “Documented,” which received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary, and “White People,” an MTV special that was nominated for an Emmy Award.

“As ad and social platforms evolve, TheMaven provides independent leaders, like Jose, an end-to-end business home, to continue to distribute on platforms like Facebook and Twitter but as part of a fully-integrated, unified strategy, which includes advertising, technology and distribution,” added Heckman. “Our business model has always been to hand-pick and invest in the elite, independent content leaders in a particular category and Jose certainly is the leader in his space -- and the timing couldn’t be more appropriate. We’re proud to include his passion and brilliance with the rest of our inspiring leaders.”

TheMaven is an expert-driven, group media network whose state-of-the-art platform serves, by invitation-only, professional, independent channel partners to provide broader distribution, greater community engagement, and efficient advertising and membership programs. TheMaven enables channel partners to focus on the key ingredients to their business: creating, informing, sharing, discovering, leading and interacting with the communities and constituencies they serve.

TheMaven Network will launch this quarter in beta as channel partner signings continue to be announced. For more information, visit themaven.net.

Based in Seattle, TheMaven is publicly traded in the OTC Markets Group, under the ticker symbol MVEN. Key members of the leadership team include:

Founder and CEO, James Heckman, has extensive experience in digital media, advertising, video and online communities for major public companies and several times as founder. He served as Head of Global Media Strategy for Yahoo!, leading all significant transactions and revenue strategy under Ross Levinsohn’s tenure. As Chief Strategy Officer at Fox Digital, he architected the market-changing, $900 million social media ad alliance between Google and Myspace and was instrumental in Hulu’s formation. Prior to Yahoo!, Mr. Heckman was founder/CEO of 5to1.com (sold to Yahoo!), CSO of Zazzle.com, Founder/CEO of Scout.com (sold to Fox), Founder/CEO of Rivals.com and Rivals.net (sold to Yahoo!, post tenure and 365-Sports, respectively) and held the position of President and Publisher of NFL Exclusive, official publication for every NFL team. Heckman holds a BA in Communications from the University of Washington.

Co-founder and COO, William Sornsin, ran MSN's Core Technology team before joining Rivals as co-founder and CTO in 1999, co-founded Scout.com as CTO/COO; was VP Engineering & Operations at Fox Interactive Media after Scout acquisition. Earlier, Sornsin held a variety of product and program management roles at Microsoft. He holds a BS Electrical/Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa and an MBA from UCLA.

Co-founder and CTO, Benjamin Joldersma’s career spans nearly two decades of large-scale platform development, including CTO and chief architect of Scout.com. Ben held the role of Senior software engineer, Geo/Imagery at Google, a Principal Software Engineer at Yahoo!, Chief Architect at 5to1 and held senior engineering roles at aQuantive, Rivals.com and Microsoft. Ben studied Computer Science at University of Puget Sound.

Director, Ross Levinsohn is a leading industry figure who has long focused on the convergence of technology and media. He served as CEO at Yahoo in 2012 and prior to that role was Executive Vice President, Americas and Head of Global Media from 2010 to 2012. Levinsohn served as President of Fox Interactive where he helped create one of the largest digital businesses amongst the traditional media companies, and was instrumental in the formation of what is now Hulu. He serves on several public and private media and technology boards, including Tribune Media, mobile advertising marketplace YieldMo, Vubiquity, Zefr, and the National Association of Television Program Executives. He was Executive Chairman and Director of Scout Media, Inc. from 2014-2016, previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Guggenheim Digital Media and co-founded 5to1 Holding Corp, serving as its Executive Chairman. He co-founded Fuse Capital in 2005 and served as its Managing Director and Managing Partner. He served as General Manager at AltaVista Network and Vice President of Programming and Executive Producer at CBS Sportsline. Mr. Levinsohn received a BA in Broadcast Communications from American University, and is a trustee there.

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