ABC News Names Cecilia Vega Chief White House Correspondent

By A.J. Katz Comment

Significant staffing announcements coming out of ABC News today: Cecilia Vega will become chief White House correspondent; Mary Bruce will become the network’s senior White House correspondent; Rachel Scott is moving over from the White House to Capitol Hill to be ABC News’ congressional correspondent; and MaryAlice Parks is taking on a new role as weekend White House correspondent.

“Cecilia’s smart, tenacious and fearless reporting and tough questions have held officials to account covering historic presidential elections and the White House,” ABC News president James Goldston said in a statement, released Tuesday morning. “She has covered President Donald Trump since his very first press conference after winning the 2016 election. In many defining moments during his administration, Cecilia pressed the president and government leaders on the most significant issues of our time, including the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, relations with Russia, immigration and the family separation policy. She reported on all the major political events of the past several years, including three Supreme Court nominations, the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the Mueller report, two presidential impeachments, and all aspects of the president’s reelection campaign, including debates, conventions, election night and the aftermath. Before she covered President Trump, Cecilia spent more than 500 days on the campaign trail reporting on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, while also anchoring the Saturday edition of World News Tonight.”

Goldston also added that Vega will also continue her role as an anchor at ABC.

While no longer chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl will remain ABC News chief Washington correspondent and co-anchor of This Week.

On Karl, Goldston stated: “With unmatched experience in Washington, Jonathan has a well-deserved reputation for breaking stories and holding government officials to account. Jonathan secured the first network interview with then-candidate Donald Trump of the 2016 presidential election cycle. Over the past eight years, his exchanges with President Trump and President Obama – and scoops – often drove news cycles – his question to Trump about why he lied to the American people about the danger of COVID-19 is just one example on a long list of standout moments. As the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Jonathan demonstrated exceptional leadership during an unprecedented pandemic, fighting not only to protect access to the White House but also the safety of the reporters covering the president. During his tenure on the WHCA from 2017-2019, he fought to protect reporters at rallies and joined two lawsuits challenging White House attempts to ban reporters the president didn’t like. He also swiftly responded to the incitement of violence against reporters. Last year Karl wrote The New York Times bestseller Front Row at the Trump Show and is already at work writing a sequel. Later this spring we’ll launch a new interview-based show that Jonathan will anchor for ABC News Live, streaming everywhere ABC News Live is available, including Hulu. It will draw on Jonathan’s considerable talents for newsmaking interviews with the foremost leaders, thinkers and doers of our time and his analysis that has been so valuable to our election coverage. I can’t wait to see more.”

Here’s Goldston’s full memo to ABC News staff announcing the staffing moves:

All,

 

As we continue our terrific reporting on the historic news from Washington, the transition and the start of a new administration and new Congress, I have exciting news to share about key players on our political team.

 

Cecilia Vega will become Chief White House Correspondent; Mary Bruce will become our Senior White House Correspondent; Rachel Scott is moving over to Capitol Hill to be our Congressional Correspondent; and MaryAlice Parks is taking on a new role as our weekend White House Correspondent.  Jonathan Karl – one of the few reporters in DC to report on the White House, Congress, State Department and Pentagon beats over his impressive career – will serve as our Chief Washington Correspondent and co-anchor of This Week.

 

Cecilia’s smart, tenacious and fearless reporting and tough questions have held officials to account covering historic presidential elections and the White House. She has covered President Donald Trump since his very first press conference after winning the 2016 election. In many defining moments during his administration, Cecilia pressed the president and government leaders on the most significant issues of our time, including the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, relations with Russia, immigration and the family separation policy. She reported on all the major political events of the past several years, including three Supreme Court nominations, the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the Mueller report, two presidential impeachments, and all aspects of the president’s reelection campaign, including debates, conventions, election night and the aftermath. Before she covered President Trump, Cecilia spent more than 500 days on the campaign trail reporting on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, while also anchoring the Saturday edition of World News Tonight. Cecilia will also continue her role as an anchor at ABC, while she brings that same tenacity and relentless pursuit of the facts to covering the Biden Administration.

 

As ABC News’ lead campaign correspondent during the 2020 election, Mary provided insightful and in-depth reporting on the Biden campaign from all major events, including the conventions, the presidential and vice presidential debates and throughout the primaries. For five straight days, she reported around the clock until a winner was projected in this historic election. Plus, she helped lead our coverage of President Trump’s first impeachment inquiry and trial for more than four months. Her reporting was critical last week as President Trump became the only president to be impeached twice in U.S. history. During her tenure in the last four years as our senior congressional correspondent, Mary was well-known for chasing down answers and putting members of Congress on the record on the important issues of the day. Her peers on Capitol Hill recognized Mary’s excellence by awarding her the 2018 Joan S. Barone Award, in recognition of her reporting on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

 

On the campaign trail in 2020, Rachel clocked thousands of miles crisscrossing the country covering both the Democratic primary and the Trump campaign often in the same week. She has been an important part of the news division’s reporting on the Trump administration, interviewing Vice President Mike Pence on the day of the final impeachment vote for President Trump in 2019. As a racial reckoning swept the country, she was on the frontlines of the protests in Washington providing live coverage for weeks, including during one of the most contentious moments as the president’s photo-op at St. John’s turned into a clash between police and peaceful protestors. Rachel’s dedicated reporting on the racial disparities among communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on important stories and raised critical questions about accountability.  Already this year she has reported from Georgia for the historic Senate runoffs, as well as from Capitol Hill during the insurrection in Washington on January 6. Following the siege on the Capitol, Rachel reported on how some law enforcement responded to the mob with less force compared to the reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. Rachel will continue reporting from the White House from time to time while transitioning to Capitol Hill.

 

Over the past seven years MaryAlice has reported and provided political analysis across ABC News. She helped craft our coverage of the 2020 election as Deputy Political Director, helping to hire and manage our largest and most diverse team of campaign embeds ever. MaryAlice began her ABC News career at This Week as a producer; during part of the summer of 2019, she filled in as the program’s showrunner, and she has served as a panelist on the program’s roundtable. She covered the 2016 Democratic primary and developed an expertise on the party’s fault lines as well as the progressive movement in particular. Since then her extensive reporting on politics has ranged from examining voting rights laws and changes to ballot access to producing an original video series profiling first-time female candidates and the “Pink Wave.”  In her new on air role she’ll be vital to helping our audience understand the latest news from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as it happens.

 

With unmatched experience in Washington, Jonathan has a well-deserved reputation for breaking stories and holding government officials to account. Jonathan secured the first network interview with then-candidate Donald Trump of the 2016 presidential election cycle. Over the past eight years, his exchanges with President Trump and President Obama – and scoops – often drove news cycles – his question to Trump about why he lied to the American people about the danger of COVID-19 is just one example on a long list of standout moments. As the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Jonathan demonstrated exceptional leadership during an unprecedented pandemic, fighting not only to protect access to the White House but also the safety of the reporters covering the president. During his tenure on the WHCA from 2017-2019, he fought to protect reporters at rallies and joined two lawsuits challenging White House attempts to ban reporters the president didn’t like. He also swiftly responded to the incitement of violence against reporters. Last year Karl wrote The New York Times bestseller Front Row at the Trump Show and is already at work writing a sequel. Later this spring we’ll launch a new interview-based show that Jonathan will anchor for ABC News Live, streaming everywhere ABC News Live is available, including Hulu. It will draw on Jonathan’s considerable talents for newsmaking interviews with the foremost leaders, thinkers and doers of our time and his analysis that has been so valuable to our election coverage. I can’t wait to see more.

 

Rounding out our on air team on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Karen Travers will continue in her role at the White House, reporting daily for ABC News Radio and ABC NewsOne. Her reports can be heard on 1700 radio stations and multiple digital distributors and  seen across the 200 ABC News affiliate TV stations.

 

It is a brilliant and path-breaking team, supported by our unmatched bureau in Washington. While the past few weeks have been extremely difficult, the heroic and tireless work by our DC team across our platforms has been nothing short of remarkable. As we look ahead to another consequential year, we’re counting on their experience, talents and dogged pursuit of answers to help our audience understand what’s happening in the world during this tumultuous and uncertain time. Please join me in congratulating them on their new roles and thanking the team for their dedicated service.

 

James

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