David Begnaud has left digital startup Ora TV after just one year after accepting a position at a television network, a source told The Desk Tuesday evening.
The Desk first reported Begnaud’s departure late Tuesday night on Twitter; Begnaud later tweeted the news himself after speaking with a reporter at another publication.
Begnaud joined Ora TV in July 2012 after reporting at local TV station KTLA Los Angeles. Ora TV tasked Begnaud with creating a new breaking news product called “NewsBreaker” that would cover entertainment news and developing stories in short 45-second videos published on YouTube and distributed elsewhere.
Begnaud was also responsible for managing a small team of digital news producers that reported on social media under the “NewsBreaker” brand. “NewsBreaker,” which launched in October 2012, enjoyed mild success and found a loyal following among journalists and news junkies on social media.
While the product was solid, sentiment at “NewsBreaker” has been called negative by former employees who have spoken with The Desk over the past few months. Many polished news producers who joined Ora TV from established news brands like CBS and ABC left after several months under Begnaud’s management.
One former producer told The Desk in June that Begnaud would launch into tirades and temper tantrums over details in Twitter messages and videos (the producer asked to remain anonymous as Ora TV employees were subject to a non-disclosure agreement).
“All I received, besides a paycheck, was a steady wave of abuse,” the producer said.
It is not clear if Begnaud’s demeanor contributed to his departure. Begnaud did not return an email from The Desk Tuesday evening seeking comment, but he did confirm to another reporter that he and Ora TV had parted ways.
Begnaud would not discuss any future plans; however, a source told The Desk on Tuesday that Begnaud had accepted a position at a television network.
Begnaud joined Ora TV from Tribune-owned KTLA Los Angeles. During his time at KTLA and Ora TV, he contributed regularly to segments that aired on tabloid news channel HLN.
Begnaud’s boss, Jon Housman, did not return a message from The Desk seeking comment.
(Author’s disclosure: Before it launched, Begnaud offered me a position on the NewsBreaker team. I declined due to prior obligations, but did refer a colleague who was later hired by Ora TV. In January 2013, I was asked by Begnaud to help consult the NewsBreaker team on finding news content on social media. I accepted no compensation for the consulting work.)