Jones began her career at MSNBC as a producer and will be replacing long-time president Phil Griffin starting February 1 next year.
After over a decade, cable news channel MSNBC will have a new president. NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde announced on Monday that Rashida Jones will take over the role, replacing long-time president Phil Griffin. She will assume the position on February 1 next year, bidding goodbye to her current role as a senior vice president at NBC News and MSNBC where she leads breaking news and major events coverage. She presently also oversees MSNBC's daytime and weekend programming. As she enters her new leadership role, Jones will make history as the most prominent Black woman in the cable news industry, NBC News reports.
BREAKING: Rashida Jones named next president of MSNBC https://t.co/uUaJyQk8qP— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) December 7, 2020
In a company-wide email to NBC News employees, chairman Conde stated, "Rashida knows and understands MSNBC, in part because it's where she started when she first joined NBCU seven years ago. 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." In the past year alone, the chairman noted, Jones has been responsible for guiding MSNBC's coverage of the ongoing pandemic, in addition to the social justice demonstrations against racial inequality in the United States. Furthermore, she spearheaded two influential series at the network: "Justice for All" and "Climate in Crisis."
I can't be the only one that thought this Rashida Jones was the next president of MSNBC. pic.twitter.com/WsE56xZHgw— SirJohnCard (@SirJohnCard) December 7, 2020
Notably, the president-to-be was also part of the team that helped prep NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker fulfill her role as moderator in the final Presidential debate of 2020. While Jones has definitely come a long way at the news organization, she first began as a producer on the "TODAY" show three and a half decades ago. Her promotion is the first major executive appointment by Conde, which comes after he announced a goal earlier this year to ensure the staff of NBC News is made up of 50 percent women and 50 percent people of color. There is no deadline on this goal yet, but evidently, things are already picking up pace.
One day until #ElectionDay and what a ride it has been. For #MyElectionMoment, here with my debate-planning sidekick Marc Greenstein just moments before the primary debate in Atlanta in November 2019.— Rashida Jones (@RJonesNews) November 2, 2020
We’ll be bringing you the latest on @NBCNews beginning at 7 p.m. tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/ldWLlWSOBa
Jones will replace Griffin, who Conde noted had "built something remarkable" at the cable news channel. He affirmed, "He leaves the network in the best shape it has ever been." Griffin was appointed president in 2008 and oversaw the network during the Obama and Trump administrations. "Shortly after this election, I told Cesar and Jeff Shell that the time felt right to hang up my cleats," he wrote in an email to the staff of NBC News and MSNBC. "They were both so gracious and supportive. We've been blessed with spectacular talent at every level. I admire the commitment, the camaraderie, the scrappiness, the pure love everyone has for this place. MSNBC is about humanity. The creativity, the compassion, the fact you all care so much. And that is what I will miss the most."
Gearing up for an important hour on the story of our lifetimes. An @NBCNews Special Report #CoronavirusPandemic tonight at 10pmET/PT, hosted by @LesterHoltNBC and in collab with @Facebook pic.twitter.com/42qi5tTjUs— Rashida Jones (@RJonesNews) March 19, 2020
Now, newly-appointed president Jones will face a tough challenge at MSNBC as these are uncertain times for cable news channels. Though the network's ratings grew during President Donald Trump's tenure as well as in the run-up to the 2020 Presidential elections, it is unclear how the channel will fare under a Joe Biden administration, particularly because overall cable viewership is on the decline. There is no doubt, nonetheless, that Jones will rally the troops and maintain the editorial ethic that MSNBC is known for.
What can we learn from career journalists who are committed to diversity of thought? Tune in from the #FQLounge @ #AWNewYork for a conversation on how women in news overcame obstacles in a male-dominated space. @laura_molen @NBCUTogether, @RJonesNews, @janelleNBC @YvetteMiley pic.twitter.com/kWJiYU2HiU— The Female Quotient (@femalequotient) September 23, 2019