CNN+ has come under fire for a lack of Latino journalists in the streaming platform’s on-air talent roster.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists released a statement Wednesday accusing the streamer of disregarding Latino talent.
“The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is appalled by the lack of Latino journalists in the CNN+ lineup,” the statement began. “This lack of representation is not only disrespectful to our diverse community, but also disregards the well-qualified Latino talent pool within the organization.”
CNN announced its content slate late in February. It includes shows hosted by CNN veterans Wolf Blitzer, Kate Bolduan, Don Lemon, Anderson Cooper, and Sara Sidner; along with programs fronted by former Fox News host Chris Wallace, and former ESPN anchors Jemele Hill and Cari Champion.
The NAHJ implored CNN’s new boss to hire more Latino talent.
“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 statement said. “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.”
Licht, who currently serves as programming executive vice president at CBS, will become CEO and chairman of CNN Global in May of this year. Licht replaces Jeff Zucker, who stepped down over a consensual, personal work relationship with CNN’s (now-former) chief marketing officer Allison Gollust. Licht is also known for his work as showrunner and executive producer of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
His appointment comes ahead of the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger, which will create new company Warner Bros. Discovery and is expected to close in the April-June quarter of this year. AT&T is the current owner of WarnerMedia, pending a final Discovery shareholder vote on the multi-billion dollar deal.
CNN responded to NAHJ’s criticism Wednesday afternoon in a statement to TheWrap.
“As a longstanding partner of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, we are proud to launch CNN+ with a very diverse lineup including ‘Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico,’ which is currently in production,” the statement said. “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.”