CBS News

CBS News announces 2020 presidential campaign digital journalists

CBS News is expanding its political coverage as it ramps up for the upcoming 2020 presidential election, announcing the digital journalists who will be fanning out nationwide to cover the candidates for all platforms, and its team of associate producers. CBS News will also be continuing to produce "Local Matters," the segments on CBSN which give national audiences an insider's understanding of political issues on the local scene around the country.

"We are embracing political reporting now more than ever on every program and every platform," said Christopher Isham, vice president and Washington bureau chief for CBS News. "Our commitment will be robust and it kicks off today with the announcement of the formation of our political embed unit – our boots on the ground for the 2019-2020 election cycle. This is the first step in positioning CBS News as a prime political destination for the 2020 election. This is a critical time in our nation's politics and CBS News will be at the leading edge of campaign coverage."

"With 2020 poised to be the most historic election of our lifetime, we were thrilled to see unprecedented interest in joining the political unit this cycle," said Caitlin Conant, CBS News political director. "Our stellar team of political embeds and associate producers is second to none and will be at every event -- in every state-- giving our viewers an up-close look at the campaign trail along the way to the White House."

CBS News has expanded its political team on both the television network and digital platforms since the 2016 elections. Here are the newly named presidential campaign reporters and associate producers:

National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
January 15, 2019

NABJ Reacts to CBS Political Unit Hirings

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 15, 2019) -- The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is very disappointed in and disturbed about CBS News' recent announcement showcasing new hires for coverage of the 2020 Presidential election. The uproar began following a producer's tweet that included a graphic with 12 staffers, of which none are African American or black.

Immediately the graphic set off a wave of criticism throughout the media industry, as well as the general public, with many expressing concern that blacks will not be covering the 2020 election and issues important to African Americans would not be addressed.  

"It is unfortunate that we are still having these discussions about diversity and inclusion," said NABJ President Sarah Glover. "Ironically last year the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report was a major topic and now in 2019 we're still asking media organizations specifically, and society as a whole to do the right thing. CBS's political team takes previously heralded steps back half a century."  

CBS responded to the criticism saying the team that was announced is "an initial wave of what will be an outstanding and diverse group of journalists assigned to cover the 2020 election for CBS News."  

Additionally the company says recently promoted Lorna Jones, who is African American, is the new Managing Editor for the CBS Washington Bureau and will oversee much of the political and other news coverage. The new hires showcased in the tweet are digital journalists who are field reporters and will be embedded in political campaigns.  

NABJ VP of Digital Roland Martin said, "It is unacceptable that no African Americans are even in the initial group of hires. We implore CBS to significantly improve its hiring from a healthy pool of African Americans, not only in political coverage but in areas company-wide. We are closely watching developments in hiring practices of CBS and all media companies, not only in the political arena but company-wide."  

NABJ officers are looking forward to working with CBS and others to ensure that more diverse staffs and diversity in coverage are always part of discussions when making decisions.  

“It makes good business sense and aids the bottom line to be fair, balanced and inclusive,” added Glover. “The halls of Congress have become more diverse and more reflective of our American society and it’s time for U.S. newsrooms to do the same. No excuses.” 

About the National Association of Black Journalists
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.

Congressional Black Caucus
, January 23, 2019

CBC Meets With CBS News To Discuss Importance of Diversity In News Coverage, Insist Organization Add More Journalists of Color

WASHINGTON – Today, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) met with officials from CBS News to discuss the importance of diversity in news coverage and insist the organization add more reporters of color to their roster of journalists chosen to cover the upcoming 2020 election campaign. CBS News recently faced criticism regarding the lack of diversity among the reporters chosen to cover the upcoming election. 

Following an initial meeting with CBC member Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Black Caucus followed up with a broader meeting with CBS officials where both the recent controversy was discussed as well as the networks plans for diversity across all of its divisions. Members who attended the meeting included Representatives Danny Davis (IL-07), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), William Lacy Clay (MO-01), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Stacey Plaskett (VI), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) and the chair of the Caucus, Representative Karen Bass (CA-37).

Following the meeting, the Chair released the following statement:

“As Members of the Congressional Black Caucus we wanted to express our deep concern about the lack of diversity within the CBS 2020 Presidential Campaign team, which we feel undervalues the increasingly prominent role African Americans continue to play among the national electorate. 

“According to CBS’ diversity mission statement, CBS Corporation, and its divisions are committed to building an environment that values diversity throughout the corporation and in its business practices. Under an administration that hurls divisive vitriol, attacks communities of color, and engages in racially-tinged dog whistles, we simply cannot overstate the importance of employing journalists who reflect the multiplicity of American voices and perspectives. That is why we are compelled to ask, what is being done to faithfully adhere to the diversity goals CBS set for itself? Additionally, what metrics are being adopted and tracked to conduct the requisite oversight needed to hold decision makers accountable?

“Inclusive media representation is imperative and should be prioritized in newsrooms across the nation. Unfortunately, for too long networks have repeatedly abdicated their responsibility to do so—at times resulting in embarrassingly tone-deaf analyses of issues unique to our communities and missing an opportunity to engage with African Americans on a deeper level.  As we forge ahead into a new year and a new Congress, the CBC hopes that CBS and all news media will seize this moment and demonstrate the leadership journalism desperately needs right now.”