As the former Broadcast Media Booker for the Democratic National Committee, I've worked alongside and across the partisan divide, on-the-record and off-, with women who dominate every day at the top of American political media. Having recently moved to a new role, the temptation to write a shoutout listicle highlighting key players in election media, many of whom you've probably never heard of, proved too much, so here it is. Without further ado, here are 32 of the most-influential women n 2016 election media, grouped by employer:
CNN: Alexa Miranda, Jennifer Simpson, Allison Brennan
They are the best booking team of the 2016 election cycle. Under their logistical supremacy and production leadership CNN has surged in the ratings game in 2016. This success has been buttressed by a grueling series of primetime debate and townhall broadcasts, in addition to the network's ceaseless lineup of politics coverages. All of these programming challenges are underwritten by the hustle and precision of CNN's election bookers who lock in top guests for the network day-in and day-out in morning, daytime, and prime. CNN's bookers are the industry's best with Miranda, Simpson, and Brennan leading the way.
- Honorable Mention: Daniella Diaz -- As a top digital producer for CNN politics, Diaz's byline tops some of the most-viral election stories in the daily media cycle, as well as news pieces other reporters aren't covering.
FOX NEWS: Megyn Kelly, Megan Brown
Even before her feud with Trump, The Kelly File's audience was massive. As network booker for Fox News Channel, Megan Brown's audience is technically even bigger. As Fox News Channel continues to lay their competition to waste in the ratings game, Megyn and Megan are the most-influential women in cable news.
UNIVISION: Maria Elena Salinas, Ilia Calderon, Satcha Pretto, Mariana Atencio, Claudia Uceda
There's no way to talk about influential women in election media without mentioning a lot of Univision talent. Latino voting is a priority for the network. In combination, these Latina news presenters make it a point to cover every aspect of 2016 election, from the granular aspects of the primary process and lawsuits aimed at Hispanic voter disenfranchisement, to translating the latest candidate dustups on the campaign trail for Univision's vast and devout Spanish-language news audience.
MSNBC: Kasie Hunt, Katy Tur, Halley Jackson, Kristen Welker
This politics quartet of breaking news virtuosos have thrived in MSNBC's daytime format, which relies less on talking heads and more on live reporting than their rivals. Somehow the four are consistently everywhere major political news is happening. If there was a Pulitzer Prize specifically dedicated to journalistic teamwork, these four would be the obvious winners in 2016.
FOX BUSINESS: Maria Bartiromo
She was the first woman to report live from the floor of the New York City Stock Exchange and has been the top money broadcaster ever since. So it's no real surprise that the politics interviews on Mornings With Maria are consistently world-class. Her Sunday Morning Futures show on Fox News Channel also delivers hard-hitting election interviews that are consistently on the level of anything you'll see on Sunday's network rivals Meet the Press, Face the Nation, State of the Union, and even Fox News Sunday.
NTN24: Diana Castañeda, Alison Vosloh
Bogotá-based NTN24's Washington, DC studio is small but staffed with one of Washington's great TV makeup artists. Segments are captured with top technicians and the latest robocam technology. Colombian audiences take excellence in news broadcasting seriously. Earlier this year when the network launched Poder Latino, a DC-based politics show on the U.S. election. Anchored by Castañeda and produced by Vosloh, the show provides audiences from Alaska to Patagonia a range of insights into Hispanics and the 2016 election.
DNC: Lauren Dillon, Corinne Mattie
As the Democratic National Committee's Research Director and Video Research Director, Dillon and Mattie are responsible for knowing everything Republican presidential candidates have done or are doing. Everything. They are the keepers of the party's opposition research. With seventeen GOP hopefuls on the debate stage last summer, Dillon and Matti had to function as both top political operatives and pioneers in information architecture. What they built and now maintain for the DNC will forever change how opposition research gets databased and deployed, not just for the Democratic Party but as the standard for future election cycles everywhere. Just as the world tried to duplicate Voter File that Obama's campaign built in 2008 election, soon others will do the same with the Oppo File that Dillon and Matti built for the 2016 election.
- Honorable Mention: Christina Freundlich -- The best press secretary I've ever worked with. Tenacious and detailed, she makes everyone she works with better at their job.
DCCC: Christie Stephenson, Meredith Kelly, Camille Padilla
In the wake of the effect Donald Trump has had on down ballot races, there are whispers all over Capitol Hill that the House of Representatives is up for grabs, that Republicans will lose their current majority. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is well-staffed to make these rumors true in November with the Stephenson, Kelly and Padilla -- Deputy Communications Director, Press Secretary, and Press Aide, respectively. A trio of the Democratic Party's best press operatives, they have the chance to make history this year.
RNC: Anna Sugg, Ruth Guerra
Politics aside, the Republican National Committee has on staff this cycle the election's best dedicated TV director and the GOP's most-promising new TV spokesperson. Even before the record $2 billion in earned media that Donald Trump booked during the primary, Anna Sugg and Ruth Guerra had become a booking force in political broadcasting. Throughout the election cycle they have given Republicans an edge in bilingual political broadcasting.
HILLARY CLINTON: Christina Schake, Lorella Praeli
Every day that Schake and Praeli are not on political television is a missed opportunity for the campaign to deploy their narrative via the authority and grace of two of the elections most-natural and accessible TV spokespersons. In a daily media cycle saturated with the opposite narrative from the Trump and RNC booking machines, Schake and Praeli project sincerity and compassion. Moreover, Schake's credentials as a top national media operative are unassailable; while Praeli is flawless in Spanish and English. Most-imporantly, both are really great storytellers.
- Honorable Mention: Pao Ramos -- One of the most-accomplished millennials in political media, she's worked for the White House, Vice President Biden, and now Hillary Clinton's campaign for president. She is also a Harvard Grad of Cuban, Mexican, and American heritage with deep roots in Hispanic media, highly respected by her collaborators on the campaign trail.
BERNIE SANDERS: Erika Andiola, Symone Sanders
In a campaign often associated with "Bros", Erika Andiola and Symone Sanders (no familial relation to the candidate), have taken Bernie Sanders from virtually zero name recognition last summer among Latinos and black people, to being a household name for both today. Like Schake and Praeli, Andiola and Sanders are natural storytellers with tremendous broadcast media presence, but only Andiola and Sanders had to build their candidate's brand, story, and platform, from scratch across two key pillars of the Obama coalitions Democrats need to win in November. When the Democratic Party has a nominee, it would behoove her national coalition outreach teams to sit down with Erika and Symone, ask them how they did it, and take meticulous notes.
DONALD TRUMP: Katrina Piersen
She is generally regarded as Donald Trump's most-trusted spokesperson of 2016, which makes her one of the hardest-working women in politics. It seems there is no show in morning, daytime, or prime that Piersen doesn't regularly book to defend and promote Donald Trump's bid for the White House. The sheer amount of segments Piersen appears on is astonishing. If Donald Trump earned $2 billion in earned media during the primary, no doubt hundreds of millions of that value are attributable to the hours and hours of a-air-time Katrina Piersen earns for her boss.
Of course, this list is not all-inclusive. Who else should be listed here? Let me know in the blog comments or tweet at @HuffPostWomen.
Update: Just after hitting publish on this blog post, the New York Times broke the news that the great Ruth Guerra moved on from her role at the RNC. Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe followed within the hour with a write-up of his own that included this gem: "a top Hispanic media official with the Democratic National Committee, credited Guerra for helping build a "national infrastructure" designed to attract minority voters "that it's obvious Donald Trump has no intention of deploying in that way." "Having been the Hispanic media director across the political divide from her, she was always much better at that role than I was. She was easily the top Hispanic television press operative I saw this cycle," he said. "It's a huge loss for the RNC."