Byron Pitts Calls CBS News Out Over Diversity
By Katherine Fung
Byron Pitts has said that one of the biggest reasons he chose to leave CBS News for ABC News was diversity.
Pitts will join ABC News, as an anchor and chief national correspondent, on April 15. He is leaving CBS News — where he was chief national correspondent on “CBS Evening News” and “60 Minutes” contributor — after more than a decade. In recent interviews, he praised ABC News’ efforts to improve diversity, while criticizing CBS News over the issue.
“I don’t think any news organization is where it should be, but the people at ABC are at least talking the talk and making efforts to walk the walk,” Pitts told Journal-isms.
He told TV Newser that he was impressed that ABC News president Ben Sherwood brought the issue up. “It was encouraging to have a network executive talk to me, openly and with enthusiasm, about the importance of racial diversity,” Pitts said. “I never had that conversation at CBS.”
He called CBS News out, saying that the network had fewer people of color on air than when he joined 15 years ago. CBS News spokesperson Sonya McNair told TV Newser that the network has “more than double” Pitts’ estimate of seven journalists of color.
In his new role at ABC News, he will host prime-time news specials, as well as fill in as news reader on “Good Morning America” and on weekend news. Pitts’ departure from CBS News will leave “60 Minutes” with an all-white line-up.
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