Apr 15, 2021 - Economy

Women rise to the top at major media companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several women have been tapped to lead some of the country's largest newsrooms over the past year — a promising sign of progress for an industry that's typically been slow to accept change and embrace diversity.

Driving the news: CBS News executive Kimberly Godwin was named president of ABC News on Wednesday. Godwin will be the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast news division when she takes the helm in May.

  • Last year, Rashida Jones was named president of MSNBC. She's the first Black executive to lead a major cable news network.

Over the past few weeks, several newsrooms have announced female editors-in-chief, replacing mostly white men.

  • Reuters News on Monday named Alessandra Galloni as its next editor-in-chief. She will be the first woman to lead the 170-year-old news agency.
  • HuffPost, Vox Media and Entertainment Weekly, among others have also tapped women to lead their newsrooms this year.

Flashback: While the #MeToo movement prompted transformations at a few newsrooms, last year's Black Lives Matter protests are what really began to push newsrooms, and companies in general, to take diversity in leadership roles more seriously.

  • Following the protests, several media companies, especially those with audiences that skew female, began to replace top editors with more women and women of color, including Bon Appétit, Refinery29 and Harper's Bazaar.

Yes, but: Despite these milestones, women and minorities are still underrepresented in most newsrooms around the country. As Axios has previously reported, this is especially true at the highest levels of most news organizations, for roles such as bureau chief, editor-in-chief and president.

What's next: Many newsroom leaders have pledged to address this imbalance. There are several news organization, like The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and others that are currently looking to fill top editor roles.

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