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Diversity

Pioneering TV Reporter Belva Davis: ‘There’s still a lot of good journalism out there.’

Belva-Davis-Article

Belva Davis made her TV debut in 1963, when she covered a black beauty pageant. She later made history as the first female African-American television reporter on the West Coast when she was hired in 1966 by KPIX in San Francisco. She stayed at the station for 30 years and later became an anchorwoman in 1970.

Davis hosted “This Week in Northern California” for more than 19 years and has been honored with seven Emmys. It’s safe to say that Davis is a bona fide pioneer and has paved the way for the multiculturalism we see in the media today. Here, she shares her keys to success for journalists, particularly women of color, today:

I used to always answer, ‘Work as hard as I did,’ but I realize you have to work harder. Black women have made progress since I started [in journalism], but you can’t go into it wanting to be a movie star. You can get by and make a living. But if you only prepare yourself to do the minute and 30 seconds they give you to do a story and didn’t get the background so that it could be the best that could possibly happen, it would be difficult to contribute to journalistic knowledge. I see in so many young women an obligation to broaden the storyline. That means there’s still a lot of good journalism out there.

For more from Davis, including what it was like to make her on air-debut, read: So What Do You Do, Belva Davis, Pioneering Broadcast Journalist, TV Host and Author?

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NBC-Owned Stations Launch New Development Programs Focused on Diversity

NBC has launched two new development programs, designed to recruit an ethnically-diverse range of on and off air journalists, at its 10 owned-and-operated local stations.

KNBC, NBC’s O&O in Los Angeles, came under fire last month after several demotions among the station’s on-air Hispanic talent. A KNBC spokesperson attributed the moves to the evolving nature of talent and assignments, which are constantly changing.

“While our stations are among the best in the industry at reflecting the diversity of the markets we serve, we can always do better,” Valari Staab, president of the NBC owned television stations, said in a statement. “One way to do that is to make sure we have a full pipeline of news talent ready for both on and off the air positions.” Read more

KNBC’s Commitment to Diversity Questioned Following Demotions of Hispanic Talent

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has sent a letter to Los Angeles NBC O&O KNBC and its corporate parent Comcast expressing concern over an alarming number of recent demotions among the station’s Hispanic on-air talent.

According to data compiled by a KNBC staffer and shared with NAHJ, the station has taken action against the majority of its Hispanic on-air staff this year. Of the nine Hispanic anchors, reporters, and weathercasters at KNBC, since January 10th, five have either been demoted or terminated. And as of last week, none of the station’s on-air hires in 2011 are of Hispanic heritage.

KNBC, which just announced the promotion of Robert Kovacik and hiring of Stephanie Elam to anchor weekends, currently has no Hispanic anchors on its prime p.m. newscasts while 30% of reporters appearing during these programs are Hispanic. This seeming lack of Latino representation is especially significant in the Los Angeles market, where nearly half of viewers are Hispanic.

“We’re very concerned about what’s being reported,” NAHJ president Michele Salcedo tells TVSpy. “It’s very important for a newsroom to reflect the community in which it operates.”

Read more

KNBC Boss Named NBCU Chief Diversity Officer

Craig Robinson, president and general manager of KNBC, is being bumped up to a corporate role with NBCUniversal. The company announced today that Robinson has been named EVP and chief diversity officer, reporting directly to CEO Steve Burke.

Robinson replaces Paula Madison, who retired in May.  He’s set to begin on August 15th but will continue serving as KNBC’s general manager until a replacement is named.

“Diversity is one of our company’s biggest priorities, and I’m pleased that we could look within our own ranks and tap an accomplished leader like Craig to fill this important role,” Burke said, in making the announcement.

Robinson has served as KNBC’s president and GM since 2008. Prior to joining  the NBC O&O, Robinson held the president-GM post at WCMH, a Media General-owned NBC-affiliate. He is a longtime supporter of NABJ, AAJA, and NAHJ.