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Rashida Jones Is Named New President Of MSNBC, Becoming The Highest Ranking Black Woman In TV News

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Dec. 8 2020, Published 6:30 a.m. ET

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Currently serving senior vice president at MSNBC, Rashida Jones has been named the new president of the TV news network, succeeding Phil Griffin. Griffin served as the president for twelve years and will step down on February 1. When this occurs, Jones will become the highest-ranking Black woman in the TV news industry.

Ms. Jones, 39, currently oversees the breaking news, daily coverage, and specials for NBC’s broadcast news division. The 24-hour cable news channel has been home to many liberal stars in the news world, including Rachel Maddow, Abby Huntsman, Mara Schiavocampo, and Veronica de la Cruz.

Jones joined NBCUniversal seven years ago and once served as the director of live programming for the Weather Channel. Thanks to her successes in the various roles she has held in the corporation, Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal, and others in the company have taken notice of Jones. She was handed oversight of the daytime coverage in April this year, and within three months, weekend news programming was added to her responsibilities.

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Jones produced two town hall events with 2020 presidential candidates and helped supervise preparations for the NBC moderation by Kristen Weller, for the second presidential debate. The glowing reviews all around have made it no surprise that Jones has been named to this new position.

When interviewed by Mika Brzezinski in October, Jones said of the challenge of dealing with breaking news during the pandemic, “If you would’ve told me in January that we were moving the entire organization to their bedrooms and living rooms, I would have laughed. But now it has become so seamless. It’s unbelievable what we’ve been able to do.”

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Conde praised Jones to the employees upon the announcement, describing her as having “laserlike focus and grace under pressure.” Conde also stated the networks’ strengths in taking on the new role. “Rashida knows and understands MSNBC, in part because it’s where she started when she first joined NBCU seven years ago,” Conde wrote. “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.”

Jones has a unique journey ahead as she assumes control of the news network. This November, the network reached its highest ratings, thanks to the safe space provided to liberals enraged by Trump and coronavirus surges. Now, as the election winds down and vaccines are on the horizon, Jones will have the task to keep viewers engaged and watching. Her record with the network implies that she’s the perfect person for the job.

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By: Rita Pike

Rita Juanita Pike is the granddaughter of Jerrie Mock, the first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theater, podcasting, and novel writing. She now writes about travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves a very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

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