Adweek’s annual Women Trailblazers issue is out today (Tracee Ellis Ross graces the cover), and there are two TV newsers who make the list: MSNBC president Rashida Jones, and ABC News president Kim Godwin.
Jones was named president of MSNBC back in February. She tells Adweek it’s “one of her proudest moments,” adding, “Humbly, it was the opportunity to make history. I know the importance of representation, and I am incredibly proud that I get to serve as what’s an example of what’s possible for future journalists.”
She is indeed the first Black woman to be named president of a major TV news network, with Godwin following in her footsteps only a few months later.
Jones, who now runs what is one of the most-watched networks on cable television, knew from the beginning she wanted to be a journalist. That’s not always the case with high-ranking media executives. “I knew from the beginning I wanted to combine two things: leading and telling stories,” she says. “I continue to get the opportunity to live my dream.”
What are some words Jones lives by? “Pay it forward,” she says. “We are each responsible for doing our part to provide opportunities for others, and I take that very seriously.”
Jones is a trailblazer in her own right, but who is a trailblazer for her? That would be NBCUniversal’s svp of DEI Yvette Miley. “She is my north star in people leadership and she continues to make changes that will leave a lasting impact on this industry,” says Jones.
In May, Godwin achieved all sorts of milestones. She became ABC News’ first woman president, the first Black executive to run a broadcast news division, and only the second Black woman to be named president of a major TV news outlet. She joined ABC in the spring after a 14-year run at CBS, where she most recently served as the news division’s second-highest-ranking executive (evp of news). Godwin has earned countless Emmy, Murrow and duPont Awards during 35-year career in the television news industry, both on the local and national levels.