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Coffey named VP of ABC News

Tuesday, June 2, 1998
Web posted at: 4:51:53 PM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former Los Angeles Times editor Shelby Coffey III has been named executive vice president of ABC News, the company announced on Monday.

Coffey will take on a range of editorial responsibilities, including new business and cable programming development and ABC News' online activities, said ABC News President David Westin.

Coffey "has shown by his distinguished accomplishments in journalism that he has an enormous amount to contribute to any news organization," Westin said. "I am personally delighted that he is joining our management team at a time so important to us, as we continue the process of building for the future."

The ratings game

Westin's statement alluded to building future ratings, in particular. NBC news programs, including "Dateline NBC" and "The NBC Nightly News," have been a consistent ratings powerhouse, and ABC News officials are gunning for the top.

Last week, ABC's "World News Tonight" was second behind NBC's "Nightly News." Meanwhile, both the Monday and Tuesday issues of "Dateline NBC" ranked in the top 10 of last week's primetime Nielsens.

This will be Coffey's first foray into broadcasting. He left the Times in 1997 after eight years as its editor. He is a former editor and senior vice president of the Dallas Times Herald, editor of U.S. News & World Report and editor of the Style section of The Washington Post.

ABC welcome mat

Everyone at ABC has been "very welcoming," he said.

"This is not unprecedented," he said. "Over the years a lot of journalists have made the leap from print into broadcasting."

On Friday, ABC announced that Westin would take over day-to-day operation of the news division from Roone Arledge.


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