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Rashida Jones Becomes First Black Woman to Head a Major News Network in the US as President of MSNBC

Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president whose left-leaning shows yielded big ratings in the Trump years and minted media brands like “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Morning Joe,” will depart on Feb. 1 after a 12-year tenure, the network said on Monday.

He is to be succeeded by Rashida Jones, a senior vice president for news at MSNBC and NBC News, who will become the first Black woman to take charge of a major television news network. Ms. Jones, 39, currently oversees daytime news coverage for the network and breaking news and specials for NBC’s broadcast news division.

Her promotion, announced by Cesar Conde, the chairman of NBCUniversal News Group, is another big shake-up in the network’s management ranks.

Ms. Jones, who once served as director of live programming for the Weather Channel, joined NBCUniversal seven years ago. MSNBC staff members took notice of what has been a steady ascent: Beginning last year, she was the executive producer for a pair of primary debates that set ratings records for a Democratic presidential contest.

This past April, she was handed oversight of MSNBC’s daytime news coverage, and within three months, she had added weekend news programming to her portfolio. By the fall, Ms. Jones produced two town-hall events with the 2020 presidential candidates and helped supervise preparation for Kristen Welker, the NBC correspondent who moderated the second presidential debate to glowing reviews.

In a memo to employees, Mr. Conde praised Ms. Jones’s “laserlike focus and grace under pressure.” Her new role was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Ms. Jones will assume control of a news network that reached ratings highs as a safe space for liberals enraged by President Trump, and is now pondering how to retain those viewers after the chief villain of its prime-time programming leaves office.

She also inherits a slate of network stars, some of whom are deeply loyal to Mr. Griffin, 64, the executive who joined MSNBC at its founding in 1996 and put in place much of the channel’s current lineup.

Source: NY Times


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