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ABC Names James Goldston President of News Unit

James Goldston, a veteran TV-news journalist who has had a hand in revivals of ABC’s “Nightline” and “Good Morning America,” has been named president of its news division, replacing Ben Sherwood, whose successful run at ABC News has propelled him to a bigger job overseeing ABC and parent Walt Disney’s entertainment-focused cable outlets.

In the weeks since Sherwood was named to replace Anne Sweeney in the corporate role, Goldston has been viewed as the most obvious internal candidate for the news job.

In TV-news circles, Goldston is known for breathing new life into “Nightline” after it suffered in the years after Ted Koppel’s departure. Or for working with Sherwood and top producer Tom Cibrowski to send “Good Morning America” into the ratings lead ahead of NBC’s “Today.”

A former producer for ITV and BBC News, the British executive joined ABC News in 2004 as a senior producer of primetime specials and investigative reports. He produced ABC’s exclusive investigation into Victor Conte, the figure at the center of the Balco steroids sports scandal. Goldston was the executive producer of Britain’s most watched current affairs program, ITV1′s “Tonight with Trevor McDonald.”

When Goldston was named to his current slot in 2012, Sherwood lauded his keen eye for innovation in the way we produce and tell stories” and told staffers, “I look forward to seeing his leadership and ideas spread even more through the news division.”

As ABC News chief, Goldston will be under pressure to maintain “GMA’s” momentum despite recent changes in the show’s on-air staff. And he will have to continue to navigate challenges posed by a world in which consumers increasingly turn to mobile devices and social media for information rather than the traditional network evening-news broadcast.

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