Adweek’s annual Women Trailblazers issue is now out in newsstands, and four of the 41 honorees for 2019 hail from the world of television news.
The chief executive officer of Fox News Channel and FBN Suzanne Scott is one of the women Adweek is honoring in this year.
Scott joined Fox News in 1996, which is the year the network launched. When Scott was promoted to CEO in May of last year, she recalled quickly noticing how she was one of the only women seated at the conference table. “My entire career up until then had been directly collaborating with women, and I wanted this to change,” she told us.
Given that she assumed the top leadership role at Fox News at a time when the network had been rocked by sexual-harassment lawsuits leading to talent and executive departures, the stakes were particularly high for Scott. She has since improved the ratio of the senior staff at Fox News and FBN to 50% women and installed several company-wide initiatives focused on growing the next generation of leaders.
“My hope is for all women who embark on a career in the field of media to have a pathway for growth, opportunity and career success,” said Scott.
The executive producers of the big three morning shows – Roxanna Sherwood (Good Morning America), Libby Leist (Today show) and Diana Miller (CBS This Morning) – were also honored by our parent publication.
“At NBC News, we are grateful to the women leaders before us, and we are proud to set an example for the younger generation,” said Leist, who also told us that she enjoys mentoring younger producers and helping them succeed in the media industry. “It’s all about momentum.”
For Miller, the sexual-harassment allegations against Charlie Rose were a catalyst for her advocacy. “After speaking with many people on our hurting staff, I knew that how we handled the news would be crucial not just for our viewers, but for the team that cares so much about the show,” Miller says of the 2017 ordeal. “So when I was in a high-level meeting that evening, I pushed to have Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell handle the news together and without any fill-in anchors on set. I knew that their voices needed to stand out and they should own this moment. And they did.”
Sherwood, an ep of the 7 – 9 a.m. broadcast reporting to senior ep Michael Corn, acknowledges that while “big strides” have been made, she says there’s still more work to be done to truly achieve equality. “I’ll be happy when instead of being asked what it is like to be a woman leader,” she says, “to be asked what it is like to be a leader, period.”