ABC News named Diane Sawyer to succeed Charles Gibson as anchor of "World News Tonight" on September 2. Also in today's Cheers and Jeers column, election monitors and women's activists in Afghanistan said many women were prevented from participating in the August 20 presidential election.
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Here's today's update:
CHEERS AND JEERS OF THE WEEK
Sawyer Lands Top Spot; Afghan Women Stayed Home
By Latrice Davis
ABC News named Diane Sawyer to succeed Charles Gibson as anchor of "World News Tonight" on September 2. When Sawyer takes on this new role in January, two of the three major network's evening news broadcasts will be anchored by women--a first in television history. (Sawyer also made history as the first female correspondent for "60 Minutes" in 1984.)
"Diane Sawyer is the right person to succeed Charlie and build on what he has accomplished," said ABC News President David Westin in a press statement. "She has an outstanding and varied career in television journalism."
Sawyer's promotion follows the July 28 release of the Radio-Television News Directors Association's annual survey, which found more females working in the industry. Women now hold more than 41 percent of TV news jobs and 29 percent of TV news director positions--both record highs.
More News to Cheer This Week:
Election monitors and women's activists in Afghanistan said a combination of fear, tradition, apathy and poor planning conspired to deprive many women from participating in the August 20 presidential election. Across Afghanistan some of the segregated female polling rooms were nearly empty. Many educated women who had voted or worked at polling stations in previous elections chose not to take the risk in this election.
"Things are reverting and it's because of a mix of insecurity, economy and culture," Afghan resident Soraya Sobrang told the Washington Post on August 30. "When security was better, women could participate in public life and the new constitution gave them political rights. But then the attacks started, and … all their new rights came under threat and nothing really changed in their lives."
Some activists said the election-day chill signified a wider setback for Afghan women, with an increase in domestic violence and the Taliban continuing to shut down hundreds of girls' schools.
More News to Jeer This Week:
Latrice Davis is a freelance journalist based in New York.
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