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Johnita P. Due is Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at CNN. From 2005 until 2013, she also served as CNN’s chief diversity advisor. She is currently co-chair of the business resource group Black Professionals at Turner. Additionally, she manages CNN’s multinational rights and clearances department and oversees access matters for CNN, with successful lawsuits against the State of Florida for a copy of its suspected felons list prior to the 2004 election which impacted the state’s election policy, against the federal government to gain access to Hurricane Katrina victim recovery efforts which contributed to CNN’s Peabody award-winning coverage, and against local agencies relating to the 2013 death of Kendrick Johnson, which led to the reopening of the investigation into the Georgia teen’s death.
As Chief Diversity Advisor, she chaired CNN’s award-winning Diversity Council and provided guidance to CNN management on content, marketplace, workforce and workplace initiatives to advance CNN’s diversity mission of growing its business by reflecting diverse audiences and perspectives in its programming and supporting an inclusive culture for its employees. She was key to the development of global programming initiatives Black in America and Latino in America, community forum “CNN Dialogues” in partnership with The Center and Emory University’s James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study for Race and Difference, and a company-wide initiative geared toward producing more content for the growing and diverse U.S. Hispanic market.
While she was Diversity Council Chair, CNN was honored with significant industry honors that reflected her leadership, including an NABJ “Best Practices Award,” the Corporate Diversity Award from the American Institute of Managing Diversity, International Business Leadership Award by the Equality Forum and by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law for its “unwavering commitment to diversity and…timely and incisive coverage of issues impacting minorities and underserved communities.”
Johnita P. Due has been recognized as one of the “Top Black Voices in Network News” by Ebony magazine, one of the “Second 50 Most Influential Minorities in Cable” by CableFAX magazine, a “Diversity Champion” by Diversity Edge magazine and was presented with the Ida B. Wells Award by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Conference of Editorial Writers, NAMIC Luminary Award, Corporate award from NV magazine, and has been named one of Rolling Out magazine’s “Top 25 Women of Atlanta”.
In addition to her service on The Center board, she is a board member for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and is vice chair of the board of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta. She is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Communications Law
and a member of the Buckhead Atlanta chapter of Jack and Jill.
Johnita P. Due earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Sussex in England, where she studied race relations and organizational culture under a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship. She earned her law degree from Cornell Law School, specializing in international legal affairs. As a law student, she was a NAACP Legal Defense Fund Earl Warren
Scholar and intern and interned at the United Nations Centre for Human Rights.