CNN off to rocky start under new brass, Latino journalists ‘appalled’ over streaming service’s lack of diversity

In a statement posted Wednesday on its website, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has slammed CNN for its lack of diversity in its recently announced CNN+ streaming service lineup.

“The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is appalled by the lack of Latino journalists in the CNN+ lineup,” the statement reads. “This lack of representation is not only disrespectful to our diverse community, but also disregards the well-qualified Latino talent pool within the organization.”

On Feb. 3, CNN unveiled its full roster of shows and hosts for CNN+, including new faces for the network, such as longtime Fox host Chris Wallace, former NPR host Audie Cornish and sports journalist Jemele Hill. They will be joining familiar CNN faces, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon.

Additionally, CNN announced its new president,  “The Late Show” executive producer Chris Licht. Licht will replace Jeff Zucker, following his sudden departure over yet another CNN sex scandal.

“We expect Chris Licht to do better to ensure that CNN hosts delivering the news reflect the communities they cover, and that diverse candidates are given equal opportunity,” the NAHJ states. “To build a strong pipeline of Latino journalists, it is essential CNN+ develop and nurture diverse talent within their news programs, not only to accurately represent communities across the country, but also to positively contribute to the network’s evolving programming.”

“Despite a reckoning over race that has motivated many newsroom leaders to commit to diversifying their newsrooms, many news organizations continue to do a dismal job,” the NAHJ continues. “NAHJ demands that CNN leaders rectify this oversight.”

In a statement on diversity to The Hill, a CNN spokesperson said, “As a longstanding partner of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, we are proud to launch CNN+ with a very diverse lineup including the previously announced Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico, which is currently in production. We continue to have discussions with journalists across the industry around opportunities at CNN+ and look forward to announcing more diverse shows, talent and content offerings soon.”

Capitalizing on the success of actor  Stanley Tucci’s recent show, “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” Longoria, the daughter of Mexican-American parents, is hoping to capture the critical acclaim Tucci won with her six-part spinoff.

It’s a time of transition and change for the flailing CNN, who has seen its ratings tank in recent months. In addition to dealing with the aftermath of Zucker and claims of ethical misconduct by the now-dismissed Chris Cuomo, the network’s parent company, AT&T’s WarnerMedia is in the middle of an epic merger with Discovery, which owns such popular brands as Discover Channel, HGTV, Food Network, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The merger cleared the anti-trust hurtle earlier this month.

Melissa Fine


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