Kim Godwin, Executive Vice President of News at CBS News, has been honored with the Ida B. Wells Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
Godwin was honored for being a strong newsroom leader, for being an advocate for stories about communities in the country that might have been overlooked, for her work to create a diverse newsroom, and her focus on identifying – and advocating for – young journalists throughout their careers.
The Ida B. Wells Award is presented annually by the NABJ and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, to honor an individual who has provided distinguished leadership in increasing access and opportunities to people of color in journalism, and improving the coverage of communities of color in American media.
“We are a better news organization because of Kim Godwin,” said Susan Zirinsky, President and Senior Executive Producer of CBS News. “She is a fierce advocate of seeing the wide shot and understanding the impact stories can have. She’s worked tirelessly to help all of us be better, smarter journalists and assure we are telling the right stories that truly represent the country. And she is dedicated to finding and guiding the careers of young journalists and making sure everyone knows how talented they are.”
In nominating her for the award, fellow colleagues Jonathan Blakely, senior producer at 60 MINUTES/60 IN 6; Alturo Rhymes, senior producer at the CBS EVENING NEWS with NORAH O’DONNELL; and LaCrai Mitchell, CBS News campaign reporter, all praised Godwin for caring about their careers and supporting their work. “I would not be where I am without her,” Blakely wrote. “The higher she’s risen in rank, the more young journalists of color she’s brought along with her because she knows the true victory isn’t in her reaching the top but in how many people she can bring to the top with her – people who have diverse backgrounds, life experiences and stories,” wrote Mitchell. “Kim Godwin doesn’t make leaders – she makes leaders see themselves,” wrote Rhymes.
As executive vice president of news, Godwin has top editorial oversight of newsgathering around the world for CBS News, including the national desks, foreign desks and bureaus. In 2020 she developed and helped launch the CBS News Race & Culture Unit and CBS Village, a multiplatform franchise to highlight content about diverse groups.
Since joining CBS News in 2007, Godwin has served as a top CBS News editorial leader in multiple key positions. During her career at CBS News, she has served as CBS News’ executive director for development and diversity and a senior broadcast producer of the CBS EVENING NEWS.
In 2019, in addition to her executive responsibilities, Godwin was charged with overseeing the launch of the re-imagined CBS EVENING NEWS with NORAH O’DONNELL. While executive in charge of the broadcast, Godwin managed all editorial and production aspects for the CBS EVENING NEWS and oversaw coverage for major breaking news stories including Hurricane Dorian, the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, and O’Donnell’s exclusive reporting trip to the Texas-Mexico border.
In her role as executive director for development and diversity, Godwin significantly enhanced CBS News’ profile at conferences around the country and cultivated a strong pipeline of potential employees. She also has developed a lecture series featuring top CBS News journalists sharing their reporting experiences with colleagues.
An accomplished newsroom leader and executive, Godwin has helped shape the Network’s flagship evening broadcast and the Network’s coverage of major national and international events. Godwin was named a senior producer on the broadcast in 2007 and played a key role in developing the CBS EVENING NEWS’ day-to-day and long-term coverage of major news events. She was a key part of the team covering the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, the Boston Marathon bombings, the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, Hurricane Matthew, the Orlando Pulse nightclub tragedy, the eclipse and the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Before joining CBS News in 2007, Godwin spent more than 20 years as a manager and newsroom leader at some of the top local stations in the United States. She was the acting news director and assistant news director at WCBS-TV in New York City (2005-2007); vice president and news director at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles (2001-2003); vice president of News Operations for NBC Television Stations (2001); and vice president and news director at KXAS-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth (1998-2001). Godwin was also news director at WOIO/WUAB in Cleveland (1996-1998) and assistant news director at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia (1994-1996), and before that, senior news producer at WCAU-TV (1991-1993); executive producer at WNBC-TV in New York City (1993-1994); and producer at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh (1991).
In addition to being a veteran of network and local news, Godwin has spent time as a journalism educator. She was the interim director for journalism at the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication at Florida A&M University (2004-2005) and an adjunct faculty member (2003-2004), where she taught news writing, reporting and ethics. She is currently the Chair of the Board of Visitors of the journalism school at FAMU.
Godwin’s work has been honored with six National News and Documentary Emmy awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award and a Sigma Delta Chi Award. She is the former chair of the board of managers of the North Brooklyn YMCA and member of the board of managers of the YMCA of New York City. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
The Ida B. Wells Award is named in the honor of Wells, a fearless journalist and wife of one of America’s earliest Black publishers. Wells was “editor and proprietor” of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight. Wells told her male co-founders she would not help launch the paper unless she was made equal to them. Wells won acclaim on two continents for her crusade against lynching. She also championed an integrated society and urged Black Americans to seek their rightful share of the jobs in the new industrial age.
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