Since Soledad O’Brien was dismissed, CNN has been in the hot seat for its homogeneous, “invariably white” staff. Swooping in to dissipate criticism, Geraldine Moriba, the new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for CNN Worldwide, will work to bring a splash of color to the news network.
Ever since Jeff Zucker was appointed president of CNN last year, the network has developed a poor track record on diversity. Along with O’Brien, Roland Martin and Donna Brazile were removed from their analyst positions on the network. “Do you think that the vision Zucker has for CNN may be a ‘White-out?'” an Ebony contributor once asked. Martin, describing CNN executives as “largely white males,” believed they refused to renew his contract despite his good ratings because they were threatened by “having strong, confident minorities” on board.
Just last week, rumors were circulating that Zucker was pulling the plug on CNN’s Diversity Council, but CNN announced the contrary: African-American journalist Geraldine Moriba will be spearheading a revamped Council to address multicultural issues facing the news network.
I had the pleasure of working with her prior to my time at CNN, and always found her to have a terrific sensibility and understanding of some of the complex issues we face when it comes to diversity and inclusion,” said Jeff Zucker, chief of CNN.
For the first time, the VP of Diversity and Inclusion will be required to report directly to the President on matters concerning diversification.
Moriba, also an Emmy-winning executive producer for CNN’s Program Development, has demonstrated her credentials for her new position through her work on CNN’s In America. The program featured 11 groundbreaking documentaries in two years which “focused on communities which had previously been underserved,” a press release stated. Moriba also created the “In America Blog” which surpassed 15 million readers within the first six months.
Aware of the scrutiny CNN has received for hiring few anchors of color, Moriba explained, “Some of the smartest journalists in the business work at CNN and I know that the prevailing sentiment in our newsrooms is that it is crucial for our content and workforce to reflect the audience we serve. These are goals accomplished by working as a team. This isn’t only about pursuing a noble purpose, it’s about continuing to share news from across our increasingly diverse and interconnected world, in even more effective ways.” The anchors in the image up top are some of the network’s more famous faces. But Jane Velez-Mitchell (host of Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell), Van Jones (one of the hosts of the revamped Crossfire), and Don Lemon (host of CNN Newsroom on the weekends) are some of the other anchors on the network.
The award-winning CNN Diversity Council was created back in 2003. Its basic initiative is to enforce CNN’s diversity mission of “growing its business by reflecting diverse audiences and perspectives in its programming and supporting an inclusive culture for its employees,” a press statement said.