Judy Woodruff to Step Aside from PBS NewsHour Anchor Desk
Anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff has announced her intent to step aside from the PBS NewsHour anchor desk on Friday, December 30, 2022 and to begin work on a two year project to understand better how the American people see their country and whether today’s deep political divisions can be healed. Woodruff will devote 2023 and 2024 to this national reporting project, Judy Woodruff Presents: America at a Crossroads.
The effort will explore how America arrived at this fractured political state and what solutions people envision, through travel and conversations with voters and local and national politicians, as well as discussions with writers, historians, religious and community leaders, and policy experts. As a senior correspondent, she will report regularly for this series on the NewsHour with possible primetime specials for PBS.
About her decision, Judy Woodruff said, “I have loved anchoring this extraordinary program, initially with my dear friend Gwen Ifill. To follow in the footsteps of Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil has been the honor of a lifetime. Now, I am thrilled to be embarking on this new project to try to understand the most divided time in American politics since I started reporting. I want to listen to the American people themselves, in cities, small towns and rural areas, from one end of the country to the other, to ask them about their hopes and fears, how they see their role as citizens, and to have long conversations with people who’ve given these questions careful thought.”
Sara Just, PBS NewsHour’s senior executive producer and a WETA SVP, added, “Judy Woodruff is a legend and an icon. She continues to inspire with her commitment to fair, thorough journalism and her next project will bring all of her experience and skills to the most important story in our country – What is happening in America and can democracy survive?”
Sharon Percy Rockefeller, WETA president and CEO and president of NewsHour Productions, noted, “A consummate professional and cherished colleague, Judy is the embodiment of journalism’s highest ideals. We are extraordinarily grateful that she will continue to report with precision and insight on those issues that help us better understand our country and our world. We look forward to this next chapter in her vital work on behalf of the public.”
PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger added, “Judy is an exceptional journalist, whose impartial reporting and integrity continue to set the standard for excellence. Judy is a trusted voice when trust is so very important, and we are thrilled that she will continue to serve audiences on PBS.”
Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, also noted, “Throughout her long and extraordinary career, Judy Woodruff has earned the public’s trust with her even-handed interviews and commitment to the facts. Her journalistic excellence has been recognized many times, most recently in September, when she received the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement in television news. Her commitment to civil discussion set the tone for the PBS NewsHour and for all public media journalists. I wish her well in her new role.”
Woodruff’s successor at the NewsHour anchor desk will be named in late 2022.
Woodruff’s distinguished career spans five decades in journalism, including 25 years as part of public broadcasting. She has solo-anchored the NewsHour since 2016 and served as a rotating anchor for the broadcast from 2009 – 2013. In 2013, she and the late Gwen Ifill were named co-anchors and managing editors of the PBS NewsHour, the first time a U.S. network broadcast had a female co-anchor team. Woodruff, the recipient of countless top journalism awards including the Peabody Award for Journalistic Integrity and the Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award, first joined what was then known as the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, as chief Washington correspondent in 1983, serving until 1993 in that capacity. She has previously reported at NBC News and CNN.
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PBS NewsHour’s average nightly audience in Q3 2022 (July – September 2022) totaled nearly 2 million persons. NewsHour’s average monthly digital audience for the same period topped 25M persons, while video views totaled 45.9M and social reach surpassed 13M. The 2021 Erdos & Morgan Opinion Leaders survey ranked NewsHour as the #1 most Objective, Credible, and Current media organization, while for the 19th year in a row, Americans rank PBS the most-trusted institution.
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