MSNBC names new president
Rashida Jones, who is currently a senior vice president for NBC News and MSNBC and started with MSNBC when she joined the company seven years ago, wrote NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde in a statement.
Griffin, who has been president of the network for 25 years, will return and Jones will take over Feb. 1, 2021, the network announced Dec. 7, 2020.
“She knows that it is the people who work here that make it great, and she understands its culture. She also appreciates the impact and potential of the brand,” Conde added.
Jones played a key role in this year’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic as well as unrest and social unrest due to racial issues as well as the devision 2020 election. She also worked on an internal team who helped NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker prepare for the final presidential debate of the cycle.
As a woman of color, Jones appears to be one of the first high profile moves in Conde’s effort to make NBCU’s news groups for staff to be 50 percent female and 50 percent people of color.
Conde himself is of Peruvian and Cuban descent and previously headed up Telemundo, NBCU’s Spanish language ventures, as well as working for rival Univision.
Griffin, meanwhile, went to Conde and other execs shortly after the election to discuss setting his retirement in motion — something that was expected in some circles.
MSNBC has made inroads to include diversity in its on air faces — including recently promoting Joy Reid, who is Black, to a weekday show after years on the weekend shift. It has also launched two weekend shows with people of color as hosts in recent months in addition to announcing Reid would be replaced with two people of color.
MSNBC also has several high profile talent who are openly gay, including Rachel Maddow, Steve Kornacki and Joshua Johnson.
Jones’ rise to the top of MSNBC, however, could provide challenging.
Cable news ratings are slipping overall and, although the network has seen success with several key shows and seen boosts in ratings during the Trump administration’s tenure, it remains to be seen if that momentum will remain once Joe Biden becomes president.
That said, as the ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic and possibility of drastic shifts in policy and work toward economic recovery could provide news outlets with plenty to cover for at least some time to come.