NABJ salutes its member, Lester Holt, newly-minted NBC Nightly News anchor

Longtime NBC News Anchor Lester Holt was named permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News, replacing discredited former anchor Brian Williams who was suspended for repeatedly lies. Williams will remain at NBC in some capacity.

Longtime NBC News Anchor Lester Holt was named permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News, replacing discredited former anchor Brian Williams who was suspended for repeatedly lying on air. Williams will remain at NBC.

Washington, D.C., June 18, 2015:The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) congratulates member Lester Holt on his appointment as anchor of the “NBC Nightly News.”

“In a more than 30-year career Lester Holt has become one of the finest journalists of his generation. He is an engaging storyteller, an agile field reporter, and a commanding figure behind the anchor desk,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “I have known Lester for most of that time and he has gained the trust of viewers for his reporting and anchoring. He has the respect of his colleagues and peers because of the consistency of the caliber of his work and his notable versatility in reporting and anchoring in a myriad of situations.”

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Holt joined the NBC News in 2000 and in that time served as an anchor for MSNBC before being named co-anchor of the weekend edition of “Today” in 2003, and the weekend edition of “NBC Nightly News” in 2007. He became the anchor of NBC’s newsmagazine “Dateline” in 2011.

Earlier in his career he was a lead anchor for WBBM-TV in Chicago, a weekend anchor and reporter for WCBS-TV in New York, and a weekend anchor for KNXT now KCBS in Los Angeles, each CBS owned and operated stations. Before his career in television, Holt worked for CBS Radio station KCBS in San Francisco.

In a statement today release by NBC News, Holt expressed his sentiments.

“This is an enormous honor. The respect and admiration I have for the Nightly News team has only grown deeper over the last several months that we’ve been together. Day-in and day-out under an uncomfortable spotlight they have produced world-class journalism. I’m very proud and grateful to be part of such an unflappable and dedicated team of professionals as we move forward together.”

Holt has Jamaican roots through his maternal grandparents, who were born in Jamaica, West Indies.

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NABJ Vice President-Broadcast Dedrick Russell noted the historic significance of Holt’s appointment.

“It is thrilling to see that an African-American will for the first time in television history be the solo anchor of a network evening newscast,” said Russell. “Lester’s presence will surely inspire the next generation of young journalists to make a commitment to the craft and aim to tell honest, creative, and compelling stories which illuminate the diverse world around them.”

In 1978 NABJ founder Max Robinson became the nation’s first black television network news anchor when he was made part of the three-anchor team of ABC’s “World News Tonight.” Ten years later in 1988 member Carole Simpson became anchor of the weekend editions of ABC’s “World News Tonight,” a position she held for 15 years. Member Russ Mitchell was made anchor of the CBS “Evening News Saturday” in 1999, and like Holt also simultaneously anchored his network’s weekend morning show.

Lester Holt is the new anchor of NBC Nightly News.

Lester Holt is the new anchor of NBC Nightly News.

“As NABJ reflects on 40 years, this is a major milestone for the organization”, said Darryl R. Matthews Sr., NABJ’s Executive Director. “On behalf of the entire NABJ family we could not be more proud of Lester. We look forward to watching him flourish in this new capacity.”

NABJ salutes NBC for recognizing Mr. Holt’s ability to lead the program and wishes Mr. Holt much success in his new role.

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. For additional information, please visit, www.nabj.org.–OnPointPress.net.

Lester Holt temporarily replaces lying, discredited, Brian Williams at NBC

Lester Holt

Lester Holt has devoted a long career to NBC where he has distinguished himself as a pleasant, credible and capable journalist, more than deserving of taking over the NBC Nightly News anchor desk permanently.

By Carmen Glover

On Saturday, February 7, NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams, who has unleashed an epic furor due to his repeated lies while on air, announced that he would be taking a temporary leave of absence and that Lester Holt will fill in for him in the interim. NBC News will do itself a disservice if it allows Williams back into the anchor seat because Williams willfully disgraced and ignored the bedrock of journalism: to cover and tell the truth.

It has been evident now for years that the evening network anchor chairs are reserved for white males: David Muir on ABC, Scott Pelley on CBS and Williams on NBC. Diane Sawyer vacated her seat on ABC last year and Katie Couric finally left her seat at CBS after enduring vicious criticism and low ratings. Long ignored in the narrative has been the total blackout in the evening news anchor chair unless it is a cherished holiday when most folks choose to be with their families and so black anchors occupy the seats by default.

Holt, who has been a stellar anchor/reporter for years at NBC should not be used as a mere clean up man to mop up Williams’ mess. For one thing, Williams should not be the one to take a leave of absence. Rather, NBC officials should have the gumption to fire him immediately or place him on indefinite leave for lying to the public and breaking the most sacred oath of journalism. When Jayson Blair was found to have fabricated sources and plagiarized articles at the New York Times he was fired. And rightly so.

Brian Williams

Brian Williams has lied repeatedly about enduring gunfire while traveling in an aircraft with other military personnel in Iraq. When those soldiers debunked his oft-repeated lies, he issued a feeble non-apology claiming that he “misremembered.”

I remember walking into  one my advanced Spanish/journalism classed at Lehman College years ago to see Patricio Lerzundi, a native of Chile, who had worked at the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario La Presa (required reading for the class). Gazing around the classroom Lerzundi asked: “What’s the first rule of journalism/” We looked at him in bewilderment. He then turned to the chalkboard and wrote: “If your mother says I love you, check it out.” He then explained the importance of verifying information that will have our bylines. That stuck with me.

For Williams, who earns a cool $10 million per year, he never learned that basic lesson and, to add insult to injury, fabricated his own facts and then used his prominence to retell his lies over and over, secure in the knowledge that his network will protect him. NBC needs to cut him loose and try to regain some semblance of credibility, especially after its disgraceful handling of the Ann Curry situation.

Whether NBC makes the right decision is less important to me personally than it is journalistically because I do not watch NBC though I watch its cable counterpart, MSNBC, at times because it has greater diversity among the anchors. Journalistically, I am disgusted with them trotting out Holt to parade as the temporary face of the network when his work has proven that he is more than capable of being the true face of the network and the rightful heir to NBC Nightly News–OnPointPress.net.