Kim Godwin makes history as new president of ABC News

"She has distinguished herself as a fierce advocate for excellence, collaboration, inclusion and the vital role of accurate and transparent news reporting.”

Disney on Wednesday confirmed that Kimberly Godwin, who has been with CBS News since 2007, will be the next president of ABC News, making her the first Black executive to lead a broadcast news division.

As theGRIO previously reported, after James Goldston, former president of ABC News, left the network, 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.”

Read More: Kimberly Godwin to become next ABC News president: report

When Godwin begins the new position, she will report to Disney Chairman Peter Rice. Per Variety, she will oversee ABC News’ highest-rated programs, Good Morning America and World News Tonight, as well as lead live-streaming, audio and special programming.

Kim Godwin, Twitter

“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 Pete Rice, chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, in a statement. “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 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 make history as the first Black woman to lead a broadcast news division in the U.S.

“I have immense respect and admiration for ABC News,” Godwin said in a statement. “As the most trusted brand in news, they are to be commended for the extraordinary work and dedication of the journalists, producers, executives and their teams across the organization. I am honored to take on this stewardship and excited for what we will achieve together.”

Godwin will join ABC News in early May. Her hiring comes amid several major leadership changes at some of TV’s biggest news operations. Earlier this year, Rashida Jones became the first Black executive to oversee MSNBC. CNN, meanwhile, is expected to begin searching for a new president when Jeff Zucker exits his role by the end of 2021.

Read More: Linsey Davis hopes to inspire a generation as co-anchor of ABC’s Weekend ‘World News Tonight’

In July, ABC News fired senior executive Barbara Fedida for making racist comments and using inappropriate language to describe talent and colleagues. She had been with the company for nearly two decades before they officially cut ties with her last summer. 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.

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