During his 13 years of leadership at ABC News, David Westin stood at the helm of reporting on a host of monumental national and international events. At the same time, his exhaustive career has been characterized by the need to navigate a series of critical shifts in the industry of journalism itself. Written following his departure from ABC in December 2010, Westin's book, Exit Interview, offers a unique look inside the field of journalism and at the people who comprise it."
Broadcast journalist Belva Davis was born on October 13, 1932. She attended Berkeley High in Berkeley, California, graduating in 1951. She was accepted at San Francisco State University. However, her family could not afford the tuition and Davis began working at the Naval Supply Center in Oakland.
Davis's first paid writing job was as a freelance writer for Jet. She soon found work with several weekly black newspapers, including the Bay Area Independent and the San Francisco Sun-Reporter. Davis' career in broadcasting began at radio station KSAN, where she read newspaper clips on the air, becoming the first black female at the station. Davis left KSAN to work for another radio station, KDIA. Here she had a regular two-hour radio show which featured music, studio interviews and political coverage.
In 1966, Davis was hired to replace television news anchor Nancy Reynolds on KPIX-TV, San Francisco's CBS affiliate. This made Davis the first female African American television reporter on the West Coast. Davis also hosted and helped to create All Together Now, one of the country's first primetime public affairs programs, to focus on ethnic communities. In 1977, she left KPIX to work at the PBS affiliate in San Francisco, KQED. She anchored A Closer Look and thenEvening Edition from 1977 to 1981. She next took a job as anchor and urban affairs specialist for KRON-4, where she worked full time until 1999, when she became a special projects reporter for the television station.
Davis has received countless awards for her contributions to the field of journalism. These awards include national recognition from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, San Francisco State University and the National Education Writers Association. She received the Northern California Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' highest lifetime achievement award, the Governor's Award, in 1996. Davis is also well known for her work as a labor activist, vice president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and for being active within the community.
David Westin was the president of ABC News from March 1997 through December 2010. He oversaw all editorial and business aspects of the news division. He previously appeared on Chautauqua's lecture platform in 2007 to discuss "The Media and News: Applied Ethics."
During his tenure, Westin has guided several award-winning, division-wide reporting efforts, including "ABC 2000," the 24-hour broadcast from around the world that brought in the new millennium, ABC News' coverage of 9/11, its coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the series "Iraq: Where Things Stand," and extensive reports on health and wellness issues, including lung cancer, breast cancer, the pharmaceutical industry and health care in America. In addition, ABC News has partnered with Time magazine to produce series on global warming, traffic and obesity, and with USA Today to report on pain, living longer and loose nukes.
Under Westin's leadership, ABC News became the first American news organization to broadcast live from North Korea, to broadcast live from the Potala Palace in Tibet, to broadcast a regularly scheduled morning program in high definition, and to provide high-definition coverage of a presidential State of the Union address. In 2008 ABC News became the first broadcast network in history to air debates among presidential candidates in primetime during a primary season when it aired back-to-back Republican and Democratic debates on the eve of the New Hampshire primary.
Westin holds bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Michigan.
David Westin, former President of ABC News and author of the new book Exit Interview, says "we're all biased," when asked if he can name five news anchors who are unbiased. "The question is not whether we are biased, the question is are we going to fight against it," says Westin.