NABJ is an organization that advocates for journalists, great journalism, and inclusion at every level of our industry. We were founded in 1975 with the purpose to support journalists and to push for parity in newsrooms across the country. That drive remains core to who we are today, even as we celebrate incredible firsts. For the first time in the history of national broadcast television, Kimberly Godwin, a Black woman, is the president of a network.
Godwin took the reins of the ABC News division two years ago this week. We celebrated the news because representation at the very top has long been denied to people who look like us. We know Kim is the first in the role, but not the first qualified to be president. Kim, a lifetime member of NABJ, is known for decades of leading, guiding and mentoring journalists.
The blessing of landing the top job also comes with an added burden. The public glare of the spotlight is frequently harsh on those in the top roles, but we here at NABJ note the glare on Kim Godwin appears to be unblinking and appears to be even harsher than on predecessors in that role. Black women in top roles frequently talk about the challenges of acceptance by others when they have such a person in charge of their areas. In spite of that, her supporters say Godwin is shaping a newsroom built on mutual respect, inclusivity and diversity. Those qualities do not negate Godwin’s drive, pursuit of excellence and battle-tested competence for the position.
Hugely successful at her former company CBS, which is why ABC maneuvered to lure her away and CBS fought to keep her, she is already proving herself in a very short period of time in areas that it would take most people years to accomplish.
All the news shows remain No. 1, many gaining more audience and share during her tenure.
-Good Morning America is No.1 in total viewers.
-World News Tonight is No.1 in total viewers and all demos.
-20/20 is No.1.
-The View is No.1.
-GMA3 is No.1.
-For the first time in 12 years, ABC News won midterm election night in 2022. It was the No.1 primetime news network in total viewers.
-For the first time in 10 years, ABC News was the No.1 broadcast news network for State of the Union coverage.
-ABC News was No.1 in special report coverage of the “Trump Indictment.”
And we just read, ABC News coverage of the King’s Coronation was No.1 across broadcast and cable according to Hollywood Reporter and cited Nielsen ratings.
There is more. She has launched new environmental programming with a first-ever ABC Climate Unit that has so far focused on major water challenges and initiatives in the U.S. and abroad. ABC News’ David Muir reported on the catastrophic flooding in South Sudan. Viewers were so touched by what they saw that it resulted in $4 million in donations to help the victims.
She has raised the bar on the reporting of diversity issues with expanding franchises like Soul of a Nation.
She has refocused resources on a growing crisis regarding mass shootings in America. It started with the Uvalde shootings of 2022, when 19 students and two teachers were killed. The commitment was to stay in Uvalde for at least a year to document in real-time what communities are doing to recover from such tragedies and to be a catalyst for change in seeking evasive solutions to the ongoing problem. Hundreds of stories were filed on multiple programming platforms. Her digital team also documented and produced content over the last year regarding victims of the 2022 Buffalo supermarket shooting.
Godwin has diverse leadership teams that better reflect and represent the communities ABC News serves. ABC’s diversity in the executive producer ranks and above is impressive.
With all of these accomplishments, Godwin is off to a good start in spite of detractors actively diverting attention away from her success by orchestrating a campaign designed to assault her character and cast doubt about her qualifications. The harsh glare might remain, but we see you, Kim Godwin – shining in the light. While the detractors remain troubled by your audacity to succeed, NABJ sees and salutes you for consistently standing as an advocate for journalists and excellence in journalism. Keep shining.