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Culture

Kim Godwin Becomes the First Black Woman President for ABC News

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Get used to the name Kimberly Godwin. The former CBS News executive has been named by Walt Disney Co. as the president for ABC News, making her the first Black woman to ever lead a broadcast news division. She will be succeeding James Goldston, the former ABC News president who left the company at the end of March. Through her new position, Godwin will oversee productions like “Good Morning America” and “The View” as well as have oversight on ABC News’ editorial and business operations across broadcast, streaming, digital, and audio.

“I have immense respect and admiration for ABC News,” she wrote in a statement to Deadline. “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.”

Her Work Before ABC News

Long before she was named president for ABC News, Godwin has made a name for herself in the broadcasting industry through her over 35-year career.

She’s had leadership roles at WCBS-TV in New York City, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, KXAS-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth, WOIO/WUAB in Cleveland, as well as NBC Television Stations. Since 2007, she held multiple roles at CBS News where she most recently served as the executive vice president of news. In that position, Godwin oversaw all newsgathering worldwide for the news division with oversight into the newsrooms at all CBS-owned and operated stations. Her journey at CBS started as a senior producer for the evening news show that was anchored by Katie Couric. If that wasn’t enough, Godwin also had a role as the executive director for development and diversity in addition to working as a senior broadcast producer of the “CBS Evening News.”

Throughout her work at CBS, she supervised 400 domestics and foreign affiliates along with the National Desk and domestics bureaus, News Standards & Ethics, Race & Culture, and CVS Audio Services which included over 600 affiliates and podcasts.

She helped develop the CBS News Race and Culture Unit along with CBS Village in 2020 where she focused on highlighting diversity and bringing attention to content about more diverse groups. This work led Godwin to be recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists in November 2020 for her work in advocacy when it came to not only covering communities of color but also through building a more diverse newsroom and finding the time and space to champion up and coming journalists through their careers. 

What Does Her Appointment Mean?

As Godwin will oversee editorial and business operations across all broadcast, digital, streaming, and audio news for the organization, she’ll have access to franchises such as “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight,” “20/20,” “Nightline,” and “This Week.”

In April, the National Association of Black Journalists publicly congratulated Godwin on her new landmark role at ABC News. The NABJ is an organization that offers training, career opportunities, and advocacy for Black journalists and media professionals globally.

“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,” Ken Lemon, NABJ Vice President-Broadcast said. “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 told the organization that the significance of her appointment was not lost on her at the moment.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants in journalism who paved the way as members of NABJ,” she added. “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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