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Holt to be first African American to run solo news show

On June 29, 2015

As NBC’s Nightly News official new host, Lester Holt is the first African American solo anchor in that position.

“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 National Association of Black Journalists 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.”

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 released 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,” he said. “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 is the first African-American in television history to be the solo anchor of a network evening newscast. 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.

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