It looks like ABC News has found a new president.
On Thursday, it was revealed that Kimberly Godwin was in the final stages of negotiations with Disney for the new role. The organization has yet to confirm the news, but according to NBC News, the ink is almost dry on the deal.
Godwin currently sits as the Vice President of CBS News and is a 14-year-veteran at the company. When the Florida native and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University graduate begins her new role, she will be the first Black woman to lead a broadcast news division.
After the former president of ABC News, James Goldston, left, the National Association of Black Journalists began advocating for a Black person to take over the role.
“In 1962, ABC hired Mal Goode as the first network news correspondent, and in 1978, NABJ co-founder Max Robinson was named the first Black network evening news anchor,” said NABJ Vice President-Broadcast Ken Lemon in a press release.
“While progress has been made in front of the camera, it’s time for Black advancement in the executive suites.”
The president of NABJ, Dorothy Tucker, also spoke out about the request. She acknowledges the progression ABC has made and the changes toward diversity but says more can be done.
“In the 53 years since the Kerner Commission called on news media outlets to increase the hiring of Black anchors, reporters, and editors, our industry has made a number of strides,” said Tucker.
“African Americans have ascended to the top ranks of running publications like The New York Times, and just this week the first Black head of a cable news network started at MSNBC. But never have we seen an African American run a broadcast news network. That needs to change in 2021.”
ABC News was recently under scrutiny after its VP Barbara Fedida was called out for making racists comments. She had been with the company for nearly two decades before they officially cut ties with her in July. NABJ Vice President-Digital, Roland S. Martin spoke out about the leadership changes ABC News faced.
“NABJ has made it a top priority to meet with numerous media companies to specifically address the dearth of Black senior executives. In 2019, we met with Goldston and his team about the lack of any senior news Black executives,” said Martin.
“Later that year, Marie Nelson was hired. In 2020, when news of racist remarks by then-ABC VP Barbara Fedida was made public, NABJ met with Disney Chairman Peter Rice. Fedida was fired, and Galen Gordon was hired as senior VP of talent strategy and development. But we are not satisfied,” he continued.
When Godwin begins the new position, she will report to Rice who is the chairman of Disney’s entertainment division and has been working to secure the position for months.
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