Cesar Conde: Amplifying Diverse Voices Behind and In Front of the Camera
Cesar Conde, Chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, is the first-ever and highest-ranking Latino to run a major English-language network TV news division in the U.S. We talked to him about his new role and why it’s so crucial to have diverse voices in front of and behind the camera, now more than ever.
Q: What prompted you to make diversity a priority for your news operations?
A: Representation and inclusivity have always been important to me. I am a son of immigrant parents — my mom from Cuba and my dad from Peru — and I grew up in Miami and across the East Coast. After working in the media industry for nearly two decades, both from an editorial and business perspective, I also saw the positive impact journalism has in society if practiced responsibly.
Our most sacred responsibility at NBCU News Group is to inform our audiences and create great journalism that reflects and represents all of the communities we serve, across all of our platforms. The 50% Challenge, which aspires for our News Group to be 50% women and 50% people of color, is at the core of that mission. Creating an inclusive environment for our employees, as well as our consumers, is essential.
Q: What are some of the major milestones that you’ve been most proud of since joining the News Group in 2020?
A: I’m so proud of our historic accomplishments this past year. Among them, Joy Reid became the first Black woman to anchor an evening cable news show when we launched The ReidOut. We also presented the first-ever bilingual collaboration between NBC News and Noticias Telemundo, airing stories about the Latino community in both Spanish and English.
Just a few months ago, Rashida Jones was named President of MSNBC, becoming the first Black executive to lead a major TV news network. She is an excellent leader and an important part of the culture at the News Group, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see where she takes the network. She is off to a great start. In fact, her first month as president was historic — MSNBC was #1 across all of cable television for the month of February.
Q: Tell us about how your employees were key to driving some of your diversity initiatives and how you plan to measure success.
A: I’m so proud of how the 50% Challenge initiative came about. It was the result of many honest and tough conversations last summer aimed at fostering an inclusive workplace environment where everyone feels welcome and recognized.
We’re now laser-focused on delivering results, and one way we are showing progress across our DE&I initiatives is through a detailed action plan composed of five pillars: investment and recruitment, content, education and development, partnership, and measurement.
Q: What are the biggest challenges to reach this goal?
A: Change doesn’t happen overnight. It will be a long journey, and we’ve built a roadmap with our five-pillar plan to help us get there. It's an incredible privilege and a competitive advantage that we work at NBCUniversal, which has exceptional journalism, powerful brands, and remarkable talent on and off air, all under one umbrella.