It’s official! After days of speculation, Kimberly Godwin has been appointed as the new president of ABC News following the exit of James Goldston, who announced he was stepping down back in January. The new role makes Godwin the first Black woman to head ABC News as its president and head a broadcast network news operation. Godwin comes to ABC from CBS where she served in multiple roles since 2007 including most recently as the executive vice president of CBS News.
The National Association of Black Journalists congratulated Godwin on her historic appointment on their website. The organization, which advocates on behalf of Black journalists and media professionals in the U.S. and worldwide, had previously expressed “jubilation” at news of the possible hiring while also empathizing with the CBS VIAC employees who would be losing “a powerful advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“This historic announcement shows what we at NABJ have always known: there are Black executives more than capable of taking the reins of a network operation. We hope this move sends a clear signal to other networks,” said Ken Lemon, NABJ Vice President-Broadcast. “The NABJ Family is thrilled that Kim has been tapped for this position and it is the logical next step for a hard-working news leader. Her appointment opens the door for diversity and inclusion at a higher level. The glass ceiling is broken and must be shattered.”
Godwin was recognized by the NABJ as last year’s recipient of the Ida B. Wells Award which is presented to those who provide distinguished leadership in increasing access and opportunities to people of color in journalism, and improving the coverage of communities of color in American media. She acknowledged the luminaries who came before her and made this moment possible.
“The significance of this appointment is not lost on me,” Godwin said. “I stand on the shoulders of giants in journalism who paved the way as members of NABJ. I was mentored by many in this organization and have therefore made it my business to mentor many as I’ve come along. I’m looking forward to joining the extraordinary team at ABC News and excited about what we can accomplish together.”
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ABC News is in the midst of a very successful run with flagship programs like Good Morning America and World News Tonight with David Muir ranked number one across several categories. Godwin’s considerable experience is expected to help extend the network’s dominance in the news department.
“Kim is an instinctive and admired executive whose unique experiences, strengths and strategic vision made her the ideal choice to lead the outstanding team at ABC News and build on their incredible success,” said Peter Rice, chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, to whom she will report. “Throughout Kim’s career in global news organizations and local newsrooms, she has distinguished herself as a fierce advocate for excellence, collaboration, inclusion and the vital role of accurate and transparent news reporting.”
Godwin joins several other Black women at the top of the television C-suite including Rashida Jones, the president of MSNBC, who became the first Black woman to lead a cable news network; Vanessa Morrison, President of Streaming at Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production; Tina Perry, President of OWN Networks; Channing Dungey, Chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group; and Tara Duncan, President of Freeform.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in broadcast journalism from Florida A&M University, the first historically Black university to have an accredited journalism program.