Kimberly Godwin and Yvette Miley: Top media executives have South Florida roots.


Staff Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is applauding the promotion of longtime member Kimberly Godwin to vice president of news at CBS News.

The announcement comes on the heels of NABJ’s recognition of Yvette Miley – Riviera Beach native, longtime NABJ member, Godwin’s “Best Friend Forever” and like her a Florida A&M University (FAMU) Rattler – as the recipient of NABJ’s 2017 Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization’s most recent national convention.

South Floridians are feeling particular pride recalling that, when other major media organizations in Palm Beach County were only beginning to diversity their local newsrooms, close friends Godwin and Miley already were powerhouse editors and producers at WPTV-5 in West Palm Beach.

Both were founding members of the NABJ affiliate-chapter Palm Beach Association of Black Journalists, and helped lead initiatives to closer connect communities to their news organizations. The pioneering journalists both became beloved throughout South Florida, and noted advocates for improved coverage of the total community, even as they were heading to even more illustrious careers.

While continuing in her role as executive director for development and diversity, Godwin is responsible for the editorial direction, launch and coordination of all CBS News newsgathering resources domestically and around the globe.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for me at an extraordinary time in history,” said Godwin. “I’m really looking forward to building upon the traditions and standards of CBS News to make a difference. I truly hope to open more doors and help careers to flourish.”

Her stellar career includes stints as the acting news director and assistant news director at WCBS-TV in New York; vice president and news director at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles; vice president of news operations for NBC Television Stations; vice president and news director at KXAS-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth; news director at WOIO/WUAB in Cleveland; assistant news director and senior news producer at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia; executive producer at WNBC-TV in New York; and producer at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh.

“We are extremely proud of Kimberly Godwin. Her leadership skills are noteworthy and worthy of praise,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “NABJ applauds CBS News for rewarding journalistic excellence. Kimberly is deserving of this promotion.”

Godwin is chair of the Board of Visitors of FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. She also has been interim director for journalism and an adjunct faculty member at FAMU, two posts that have allowed her to continue being not only a mentor, but a source of inspiration and support for aspiring journalists.

“Professor Godwin – because I’ll never be able to call her by her first name – has opened so many doors for journalists of color as a mentor, educator and in her professional capacity,” said Marlon A. Walker, NABJ’s vice president of print and also a FAMU alum. “She continues to inspire me to do more to reach back and continually remind hiring managers about talented journalists of color when they’re filling jobs.”

Dorothy Tucker, NABJ vice president of broadcast, noted that Godwin’s promotion is being celebrated in newsrooms across the country.

“This is big news for the industry and NABJ,” said Tucker. “Aspiring journalists in J-Schools around the country will see what can happen when you get a good education, work hard and strive for excellence. This is also an example of when those efforts are recognized and rewarded. We all share in Kimberly’s success.”

Also now a respected news executive, known across the industry for her dynamic leadership, is Godwin’s dear friend Miley, who has worked for NBC Universal for 25 years.

Miley joined Miami’s NBC 6/WTVJ in October 1991 as a producer and held various positions in the newsroom prior to working her way up to assistant news director. In 2001, she was named vice president and news director of the NBC station in Birmingham, Ala. Under her leadership the station’s newscast jumped from third to first in the late news category.

Miley then joined MSNBC in 2009 as executive editor of MSNBC dayside and was quickly promoted to vice president and later senior vice president. In 2015, in addition to her editorial duties, she was named head of Diversity and Inclusion for both MSNBC and NBC News.

Miley was seen as highly deserving of NABJ’s Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award, bestowed upon a journalist with at least 15 years of experience in the journalism industry, with a track record of making extraordinary contributions to the enrichment, understanding and advancement of black life and culture.

“It is an incredible honor to have my work recognized,” she said of the award she accepted in August at NABJ’s convention. “Although I didn’t have the privilege of personally knowing Chuck Stone, I owe my career to him and others like him,” she said. “My time at NBC News and MSNBC has afforded me the opportunity to work alongside the best in the industry. Chuck’s courage and commitment to journalism, and to NABJ, opened doors for all of us. Because he did, I could!”

Miley has been the recipient of numerous other awards for her exceptional work, including a national and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards, multiple national Emmys, one for coverage of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, coverage of the Marathon Bombings in Boston, the Andrew Cunanan/Gianni Versace story and the Downtown Miami Tornado. She also won the prestigious Dupont Award and a Peabody for coverage of Hurricane Andrew.

“Yvette’s stellar career is worthy of accolades,” said NABJ President Glover. “Since she began working in television news more than 30 years ago as an assignment editor in Florida, Yvette’s dynamic leadership skills and journalistic excellence have been evident as she rose through the ranks of NBC.”

Colleagues say Miley is a champion of diversity and has such a strong commitment to people of color, LGBT and social justice issues that they are “woven into the fabric of all she touches.” Additionally her support of NBCBLK, a digital portal that focuses on African Americans, and NBC OUT, which targets the LGBT community, was crucial to their existence.

Miley is described as a passionate mentor who stresses that “performance, professional image and exposure to key executives are key factors to success.”

Throughout her own career, she has been credited with identifying and launching the careers of dozens of journalists both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, many of whom work at both the network and local level. She is praised for developing creative ways to connect executives with young talent, from “Mentoring March Madness” style matches to more formal events.

In addition to the hundreds of young people she inspires and mentors formally, Miley has supported the careers of journalists at every level by volunteering her time for critiques and advice to anyone who asks for guidance.

She was early, for example, in identifying the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement, the impact of the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the unrest in Ferguson.

“I’ve always admired Yvette because of her efforts in pursuit of the highest journalistic standards,” said NABJ Vice President Tucker. “She has a reputation for upholding many of the tenets upon which NABJ was founded. Yvette has definitely led a life worth celebrating and emulating.”

Godwin’s and Miley’s fans, meanwhile continue basking in their NABJ/South Florida connection.