Kim Godwin Expected to Lead ABC News; Would be First Black Person in Top Broadcast Role

(TN Tribune)–“CBS News veteran Kim Godwin is expected to become the next president of ABC News, a move that would make her the first Black executive to lead a broadcast-network news division in the U.S.,” Brian Steinberg reported overnight for Variety.

Steinberg’s report followed this: Godwin “is in the final stages of negotiations with Disney to become president of ABC News, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation,” Dylan Byers wrote for NBC News.

However, Steinberg cautioned: “CBS News declined to comment. ABC News, CBS and Disney could not be reached for immediate comment. There has been no official announcement of Godwin’s hire and there is always a chance decision-making might change.”

He continued, “Godwin has had an offer from Disney’s ABC for several weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter, but only in the last few days did CBS CEO George Cheeks agree to let the executive out of her contract. The decision, this person says, was not an easy one for CBS to make; the company wanted to keep Godwin on board. Godwin was recently given new responsibilities at CBS’ local stations, taking oversight of news operations there in the wake of the dismissal of executives Peter Dunn and David Friend amid a probe of allegations about their behavior.”

The ascent of Godwin, now executive vice president of CBS News, would come amid others recently for Black women. In December, Rashida Jones, senior vice president for MSNBC News, was named president of the cable network, effective Feb. 1.

This week, Edelman, the global public relations firm, named Lisa Osborne Ross as CEO of its U.S. operations. “The firm said Ross will be the first Black woman to lead a sizable business in the public relations field,” David Roeder reported for the Chicago Sun-Times.

And there’s this: Just as Howard University and historically Black colleges and universities are exulting in the election of Kamala Harris, a Howard alum, as vice president of the United States, Florida A&M University and other HBCUs can take pride in the success of Godwin, a FAMU grad and a former director of the Division of Journalism.

The National Association of Black Journalists called for ABC to pick an African American leader after James Goldston’s decision in February to step down after 17 years at the network.

“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,” Ken Lemon, NABJ vice president-broadcast, said then. “While progress has been made in front of the camera, it’s time for Black advancement in the executive suites.”

Last year, NABJ honored Godwin with its Ida B. Wells Award “for being a strong newsroom leader, for being an advocate for stories about communities in the country that might have been overlooked, for her work to create a diverse newsroom, and her focus on identifying – and advocating for – young journalists throughout their careers.”