Rashida Jones Made History

How Rashida Jones Made History as First Black Woman to Lead Cable News Powerhouse MSNBC

A Trailblazing Moment for Diversity and Inclusion

On February 1, 2021, the first day of Black History Month, Rashida Jones stepped into the role of president at MSNBC, becoming the first Black person to lead a major cable news network.

At just 40 years old, Jones’s ascension marked a groundbreaking milestone for representation and inclusion in American media.

Rising Star with Deep Industry Experience

Jones is a veteran of nearly two decades in cable and local news. Before her historic appointment, she served as senior vice president overseeing daytime and weekend programming at both MSNBC and NBC News. In this role, Jones spearheaded the 2019 launch of the streaming network NBC News NOW.

As MSNBC’s executive producer, Jones managed creative teams producing content for major events like election nights, political conventions, and Presidential Debates. Her editorial leadership guided the network’s extensive COVID-19 coverage.

From Local TV to Cable News Powerhouse

“I often think back to walking the campus of Henrico High School where my teachers pushed me toward academic excellence and emboldened my passion to lead through my work.” – Rashida Jones

A proud graduate of Hampton University, Jones began her television career as a producer at the local station WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Virginia. She transitioned to the Weather Channel in 2004, swiftly climbing the ranks from producer to director of live programming over seven years.

Jones’s tenure at MSNBC commenced in 2013, paving her path from executive producer to the presidency – a journey few could have imagined from her humble local TV roots.

Bold New Vision for Cable News’ Future

As MSNBC president, Jones aims to evolve the network’s approach beyond traditional prime-time viewership metrics. With audiences increasingly cutting cable cords, Jones recognizes MSNBC must adapt.

“My focus is less about how this one hour performs in this one space,” Jones stated. “It’s a huge change. But in this environment, where we know the cable universe is changing, this allows us to get more [talent] in more places.”

Under Jones’s leadership, MSNBC is embracing innovative formats and prioritizing a multiplatform content strategy to reach viewers on myriad devices and platforms.

Overcoming Doubters and Breaking Barriers

Despite skepticism from industry insiders who questioned NBC’s decision to reduce star anchor Rachel Maddow’s prime-time role, Jones remains undaunted in her vision for MSNBC’s future.

As the first Black woman to lead a cable news behemoth, Rashida Jones shattered yet another glass ceiling. Her pioneering career path and bold new plans for MSNBC’s evolution will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of diverse media leaders.