Topline

Kimberly Godwin, officially announced as the incoming president of ABC News Wednesday, will become the first Black executive to run a major U.S. broadcast news division, joining a host of women of color recently tapped to take over top roles in media. 

Key Facts

On February 1, Rashida Jones took over as president of MSNBC, marking the first time a Black woman was tasked with running a cable news network.

In March, Vanessa Morrison was named president of streaming at Walt Disney Studios.

Last October, Channing Dungey, who previously served as president of ABC Entertainment and a top executive at Netflix, took over as chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group.

Crucial Quote:

“The significance of this appointment is not lost on me,” said Godwin. “I stand on the shoulders of giants in journalism who paved the way as members of The National Association of Black Journalists.”

Key Background:

Many of the new female hires replace white men who remained in those powerful positions for decades. For instance, Jones succeeded Phil Griffin, who had been with MSNBC since its founding in 1996. James Goldston, who will be replaced by Godwin as president of ABC News in May, has served as head of the company for more than seven years. Prior to the Goodwin hire, every past president at ABC News had been a white man. Dungey replaced Peter Roth, who ran the Warner Bros. TV group for more than twenty years

Tangent:

Some smaller media companies have also made notable hires in 2021. The editor in chief of Reuters had been a man for the entirety of its 170-year history, until Monday, when the new agency named Alessandra Galloni as its new EIC. Last month, HuffPost announced that Danielle Belton, the then-EIC of the Black news and culture site The Root, would take over as the company’s top editor. Swati Sharma, who previously served as managing editor at The Atlantic, was hired as the new editor in chief of Vox in mid-February. Entertainment Weekly hired 36-year-old Asian-American Mary Margaret as the publication’s first female editor in chief in early March.

What To Watch For:

Who will replace CBS News President Susan Zirinsky, who is planning to step down in the near future after just two years in the role, according to multiple reports.

Further Reading:

Kim Godwin Makes History As The First Black Woman To Head ABC News (Forbes)

Rashida Jones named president of MSNBC, becoming first Black leader of news network (USA Today)

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