The following media release was shared on Wednesday by the National Hispanic Media Coalition:
NEW YORK — Yesterday, in part of a series of sweeping changes, CBS debuted its new CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News anchor and correspondent teams, but failed miserably in representing the nation’s largest and fastest growing minority by not hiring at least one qualified Latino reporter or anchor on either one of its national news broadcasts.
The new CBS This Morning anchor team consists of Gayle King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil, and the correspondents dedicated to the show are David Begnaud, Jericka Duncan, Anna Werner and Vladimir Duthiers. Of this team, two are African Americans and one is Haitian/French. The latter does not consider himself Latino. As for CBS Evening News, Norah O’Donnell will become its anchor and managing editor this summer, replacing Jeff Glor. (John Dickerson of the morning show is departing).
The shakeup was led by Susan Zirinsky, CBS News division’s first female president, who assumed her post in March. It has been widely reported that Zirinsky hopes to increase CBS’ ratings for both telecasts, which have lagged behind ABC and NBC for years. Ratings have suffered in part from scandals tied to sexual harassment and workplace culture at CBS. CBS employees who either stepped down or were fired due to these allegations were CEO Leslie Moonves, 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager, and Charlie Rose, the former co-host of CBS This Morning.
Alex Nogales, president and CEO of NHMC, released the following statement:
“There is no doubt that this is a business about ratings. However, Zirinsky should focus just as much effort into diversifying her newsrooms by hiring qualified Latino journalists on air as she is by trying to turn a profit Latino journalists are not only important because they sit at the table with decision makers, but also cover more accurate portrayals of the beliefs and experiences of the Latino community, which represents 18.9% of the U.S. population—the biggest and growing ethnic minority in the nation.
Zirinsky and other high-ranking, CBS news executives are part of a profession that hold others accountable, yet do not hold themselves accountable. They should be ashamed for not being committed to inclusive hiring practices because race matters. Don’t get me wrong. The new CBS team has the qualifications and experience to do an outstanding job for CBS. But our community is tired of being absent in the national consciousness and now absent in the consciousness of a national news network. We should not be at odds with CBS and other media outlets across the nation, fighting to be rightly represented on camera and off, and advocating for content that includes our demographic’s socio-economic and political concerns.
If Zirinsky and her news teams are truly in pursuit of bringing authentic, three-dimensional and original stories to the American public ethically, impartially and honestly, then they should be inclusive of all major ethnic, racial groups in their hiring practices. If not, CBS risks Latinos abandoning its national newscasts.”
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) advocates for the Latino community, ensuring that Latinos are fairly and consistently represented in news and entertainment and that our voices are heard over the airwaves and on the internet.
NHMC exists to challenge executives and influencers throughout the entertainment and news industries to eliminate barriers for Latinos to express themselves and be heard through every type of medium. NHMC works to bring decision-makers to the table to open new opportunities for Latinos to create, contribute and consume programming that is inclusive, free from bias and hate rhetoric, affordable and culturally relevant.