Judy Woodruff

Judy Carline Woodruff (born November 20, 1946) is a U.S. broadcast journalist, who has worked in network, cable, and public television news since 1976. She is currently anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour. Woodruff has covered every presidential election and convention since the race that culminated in the win of 39th U.S. president Jimmy Carter. She has interviewed several heads of state and moderated U.S. presidential debates.[3]

Judy Woodruff
Judy Carline Woodruff

(1946-11-20) November 20, 1946
ResidenceWashington, D.C., U.S.
NationalityUnited States
Alma materMeredith College
Duke University (BA)
Years active1970–present
Al Hunt (m. 1980)
ChildrenJeffrey Woodruff Hunt
Benjamin Woodruff Hunt
Lauren Ann Lee Hunt[1]
Parent(s)William Henry Woodruff[2]
Anna Lee Woodruff (née Payne)

After graduating from Duke University in 1968, Woodruff entered local television news in Atlanta. Thereafter, she was named White House correspondent for NBC News in 1976, a position she held for six years. She joined PBS in 1982, where she continued White House reports for the nightly news program the PBS NewsHour, formerly The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, in addition to presenting another program. She moved to CNN in 1993 to host Inside Politics and CNN WorldView together with Bernard Shaw, until he left CNN. Woodruff left CNN in 2005, and returned to PBS and the NewsHour in 2006. In 2013, she and Gwen Ifill were named official anchors of the PBS NewsHour, succeeding founding presenter Jim Lehrer. Woodruff and Ifill shared managing newsgathering duties until Ifill's death from cancer in 2016. Woodruff succeeded Ifill as the program's sole main presenter.[4]

Early life and education

Woodruff was born on November 20, 1946, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to William H. Woodruff, a chief warrant officer in the Army, and Anna Lee (née Payne) Woodruff.[2][5][6] She has one sister, Anita.[1] She grew up as an army brat, and because of that moved multiple times during her childhood, attending seven schools between kindergarten and seventh grade.[7] Woodruff first moved from Oklahoma to Germany, when she was five years old. She then moved to army bases in Missouri and New Jersey, returned to Oklahoma, lived in Taiwan for a few years, and subsequently went to North Carolina, before settling in the Augusta, Georgia, area, when her father was stationed at Fort Gordon.[7] Woodruff went to the Academy of Richmond County, a high school in Augusta.[8] In 1963, she won the beauty pageant Young Miss Augusta.[9]

Woodruff attended Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, starting in 1964, initially pursuing a degree in mathematics.[10] In an interview, she said that her political science teacher at Meredith got her interested in politics.[11] After two years at Meredith, Woodruff transferred to Duke University in 1966.[12] She was active in the student government of Duke, and was a member of the sorority Alpha Delta Pi.[13]

While studying, she worked for Georgia Representative Robert Grier Stephens Jr. as an intern during two summers, but was discouraged from working in Washington, D.C., because of the manner in which women were being treated there.[12] Woodruff decided to enter journalism in her senior year.[11] She graduated from Duke with a bachelor's degree in political science in 1968.[5][7] She served on the board of trustees of the university between 1985-97.[13][14] Woodruff received an honorary degree (D.H.L.) from Duke in 1998, and she was also awarded an honorary degree (LL.D.) from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005.[15][16][17]


From local television to White House correspondent

Woodruff applied for her first job in journalism during the spring break of her senior year at Duke.[7] She was hired as a secretary at the news department of the ABC affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia (WQXI-TV), and began working after she graduated in 1968.[18] Besides being a secretary, she presented the weather forecast on Sundays in her last six months at the station.[7][18] Woodruff left the affiliate after a year and a half to move to the local CBS affiliate WAGA-TV in 1970, working as a reporter.[7][19] She covered the Georgia State Legislature, and anchored the noon and evening news.[19]

In 1975, she moved to NBC, where she served as a general-assignment reporter based in Atlanta. Together with Kenley Jones, she covered the southeast, an area spanning 10 states, and the Caribbean.[7] Woodruff was assigned to cover Jimmy Carter's successful 1976 presidential campaign for NBC, when Carter was not yet seen as a major contender.[20] She had already covered Carter's second gubernatorial campaign in 1970 for WAGA-TV.[21] Woodruff traveled with Carter's presidential campaign until she was taken off the campaign trail halfway through 1976. Although she was not on the campaign trail anymore, she kept reporting about the Carter campaign for NBC.[22] After he won the presidency and was inaugurated on January 20, 1977, she moved to Washington, D.C. to become a White House correspondent for NBC News.[23] She continued covering the White House into the Reagan presidency until 1982.[7][24] Subsequently, she was Chief Washington correspondent for The Today Show on NBC for a year.[24]

Woodruff moved to PBS in mid-1983, becoming the chief Washington correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, when the duration of that program was extended to one hour.[5][7] In addition to reporting on politics, she conducted studio interviews and served as a backup anchor.[25] Woodruff started hosting the weekly documentary series Frontline with Judy Woodruff a few months later in 1984 after its presenter Jessica Savitch died in October the year before.[22] Woodruff left Frontline in 1990 to spend more time with her family and at the NewsHour.[26] While at PBS, she covered all presidential conventions and campaigns, and moderated the 1988 vice-presidential debate between United States Senators Dan Quayle (R-IN) and Lloyd Bentsen (D-TX).[6][19] The debate is remembered for the remark "I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy", made by Senator Bentsen.[19]

CNN and years after

Woodruff left the NewsHour in 1993 to move to CNN.[19] She was first asked to work for CNN by Tom Johnson at the end of 1992, and took the job four months later after some initial hesitation.[7] In June 1993, Woodruff started anchoring the political talk show Inside Politics, that aired on weekdays, together with Bernard Shaw, and the international news program The World Today together with Frank Sesno.[19][27] Sesno was replaced by Shaw in May 1994.[28] When the daily world affairs program CNN WorldView was launched in 1995, Woodruff and Shaw became the hosts.[29][30]

She remained co-anchor of WorldView until it went off the air in 2001.[31] In February 2001, Shaw retired, which caused Woodruff to become the sole host of Inside Politics, which was subsequently renamed Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics.[32] During her time at CNN, Woodruff has also co-anchored CNN's election coverage and the news shows Live From... and CNN NewsStand on Wednesdays.[33][34] She was the sole anchor of the 1996 documentary series Democracy in America as well.[35] She reported on the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing, and co-anchored CNN's special coverage of, among other things, President Richard Nixon's funeral, the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, 9/11, the War in Afghanistan, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and the Iraq War.[19][33][36]

She moderated numerous presidential primary debates, namely three Republican debates and one Democratic debate during the 2000 campaign season and one Democratic debate during the 2004 campaign season.[37][38][39][40][41]

Woodruff left CNN in June 2005 after her contract expired in order to teach, write, and work on a long-form television project.[42] She was a visiting fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University in the fall of 2005, and taught a course at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University on media and politics in the fall of 2006.[43][44] Additionally, Woodruff started hosting Conversations with Judy Woodruff, a monthly Bloomberg Television program, in which she interviewed people, in 2006. She also hosted the Bloomberg election night coverage of the 2006 midterms.[45] Woodruff continued presenting Conversations with Judy Woodruff until 2013.[24]

Return to PBS

Woodruff started working for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions in 2006 on the multi-media project Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard about the views of Americans between the ages of 16 and 25.[24] The project included a PBS documentary series, segments on the NewsHour, a series of NPR specials, and articles on the Internet and in USA Today.[46][47] Woodruff returned to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer as a special correspondent that same year, and became a senior correspondent a few months later in February 2007.[48] As a senior correspondent, she reported, conducted studio interviews, was part of the political team, and occasionally filled in as anchor.[48] In December 2009, the news program moved to a dual anchor format, and changed its name to PBS NewsHour. Jim Lehrer, the main anchor was alternately joined by Woodruff, Gwen Ifill, and Jeffrey Brown.[49]

Lehrer stepped down as anchor of the NewsHour in June 2011, which resulted in the news program being anchored by Woodruff, Ifill, Brown, Ray Suarez, and Margaret Warner on a rotating basis.[50] Earlier that year, the documentary Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, of which Woodruff was the principal reporter, was released.[24] In September 2013, she became co-anchor of the PBS NewsHour, presenting the program with Gwen Ifill on weekdays and alone on Fridays.[51] It was the first time an American network broadcast had been anchored by two women.[5] Besides the NewsHour itself, the duo also presented PBS coverage of special events, including presidential conventions, election night, and States of the Union. In February 2016, Woodruff and Ifill moderated the sixth Democratic presidential debate.[52] When Ifill died in November 2016, Woodruff became the sole anchor of the NewsHour.[5] PBS initially sought a replacement for Ifill, but in March 2018 formalized Woodruff's position as "solo anchor".[4] The New York Times described her performance on the NewsHour as follows: "Ms. Woodruff's measured delivery, with her hands clasped and her voice low, stands as a counterweight to a haywire era of American news."[5]

Other activities and accolades

Woodruff wrote the book This Is Judy Woodruff at the White House, in which she described her experiences as a journalist.[19] It was published by Addison-Wesley in 1982.[19] Over her career, she has advocated women's organizations, and was part of a group of journalists that founded the International Women's Media Foundation, an organization that internationally supports women in the media, in 1990.[23][53] She has served on its board of directors, and is currently part of its advisory council.[54][55]

Besides, Woodruff has – together with her husband – supported families with children with spina bifida, a condition one of her sons was born with, by counseling them and raising money.[23] The couple helped organize the Spina Bifida Association of America's annual roast, during which politicians roast journalists, to raise funds for the association. The event, which was broadcast by C-SPAN, was held between 1989 and 2008.[56][57]

Woodruff has also served on the boards of trustees of a number of other organizations, including the Newseum,[58] the Freedom Forum,[59] the National Museum of American History,[3] Global Rights,[60] the Carnegie Corporation of New York,[61] America's Promise,[62] the Urban Institute,[63] The Duke Endowment,[64] and the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford.[19]

Woodruff is a former member of the Knight Commission and a current member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[65][66][67]


Year Award Organization Note(s) Ref
1986Joan Shorenstein Barone AwardRadio and Television Correspondents' Associationfirst time the accolade was awarded[68]
1996News & Documentary Emmy Award in the category "Outstanding Instant Coverage of a Single Breaking News Story"National Academy of Television Arts and Sciencestogether with others of CNN for the coverage of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing[69]
1998/99Futrell AwardDuke University[70]
1995Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the MediaNewseum and University of South Dakotatogether with her husband Al Hunt[71]
1996CableACE Award in the category "Newscaster"NCTAtogether with Bernard Shaw[72]
2003International Matrix AwardAssociation for Women in Communications[73]
2003Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment AwardRadio Television Digital News Association[74]
2009Duke Distinguished Alumni AwardDuke University[13]
2010Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in TelevisionWashington State University[75]
2012Gaylord Prize for Excellence in Journalism and Mass CommunicationUniversity of Oklahoma[76]
2016Pat Mitchell Lifetime AchievementAwardWomen's Media Centertogether with Gwen Ifill[77]
2016Foremother AwardNational Center for Health Research[78]
2017Medal for Lifetime Achievement in JournalismPoynter Institute[79]
2017Radcliffe medalRadcliffe Institute for Advanced Studytogether with Gwen Ifill, who had already died[80]
2017Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in JournalismArizona State Universitytogether with Gwen Ifill, who had already died[81]
2017Gwen Ifill Press Freedom AwardCommittee to Protect Journalistsfirst time the accolade was awarded[82]

In 2003, Woodruff was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.[83]

Personal life

Woodruff is married to Al Hunt, a columnist and former reporter, and they live in Washington, D.C.[5][24] They met during a softball game between journalists and staff of the Carter presidential campaign in Plains, Georgia, in 1976.[5] Their marriage took place on April 5, 1980, in St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.[84] The couple has three children, Jeffrey (1981),[85] Benjamin (1986),[22] and Lauren (1989).[86] Woodruff gave birth to Jeffrey about five hours after appearing on air.[86] Jeffrey was born with a mild case of spina bifida, and became disabled and brain damaged after surgery in 1998, which caused Woodruff to reduce her workload at CNN.[5] Lauren was adopted from Korea when she was four months old.[86] Judy Woodruff is not related to fellow television news journalist Bob Woodruff.


  1. "Anna Lee Woodruff". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved February 27, 2018 via Legacy.com.
  2. Hallock, Steven M. (2010). Reporters Who Made History. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 236. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  3. "Judy Woodruff". National Museum of American History. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  4. Stelter, Brian (March 22, 2018). "Judy Woodruff named sole anchor of 'PBS NewsHour'". CNN. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  5. Rogers, Katie (May 6, 2017). "Judy Woodruff, the Woman of the Hour". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  6. Murray, Michael D. (1999). Encyclopedia of Television News. Phoenix, Arizona: Oryx Press. pp. 288–89. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  7. Woodruff, Judy (December 1, 2002). "Television in America: An Autobiography". YouTube (Interview). Interviewed by Morton Silverstein. CUNY TV. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  8. "2017-2018 School Profile and Special Programs" (PDF). Academy of Richmond County. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  9. Ostrow, Joanne (February 4, 2006). "Judy Woodruff has a thing about Generation Y". The Denver Post. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  10. Allen, Melyssa. "Supporting Students at Home and Abroad". Meredith College. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  11. Woodruff, Judy (June 23, 1993). "JUDY WOODRUFF" (Interview). Interviewed by Charlie Rose. Charlie Rose. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  12. Woodruff, Judy (November 4, 1999). "Judy Woodruff". Sanford School of Public Policy (Interview). Interviewed by Rob Christensen. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  13. "Honoring Woodruff". Duke Magazine. October 1, 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  14. "Trustees Emeriti". Duke University. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  15. "1990-1999". Duke University. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  16. "COMMENCEMENT 2005: Sketches of the Honorary Degree Recipients". Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  17. "Alphabetical Listing of Honorary Degrees". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  18. Carson, Linda (February 26, 2018). "PBS Anchor speaks in Sarasota". WWSB. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  19. "JUDY WOODRUFF". CNN. 1996. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  20. "Covering Carter #3: She Told Them So". Georgia Public Broadcasting. October 8, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2018 via YouTube.
  21. "Covering Carter #1: The parallel career of Carter and Woodruff". Georgia Public Broadcasting. October 7, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2018 via YouTube.
  22. Michaelson, Judith (December 17, 1987). "The Liberated Look at PBS". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  23. Mitchell, Andrea (October 2, 2013). "An unflappable anchor with a heart". Politico. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  24. "Judy Woodruff". PBS. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  25. "Shift for Judy Woodruff". The New York Times. July 16, 1983. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  26. "SHORT TAKES: Woodruff to Leave 'Frontline'". Los Angeles Times. January 22, 1990. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  27. Linan, Steven (July 25, 1993). "JUDY WOODRUFF: Turning to CNN". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  28. Carmody, John (May 11, 1994). "THE TV COLUMN". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  29. "CNN WorldView". CNN. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  30. Carmody, John (August 23, 1995). "New Cnn News Program Will Cover World Scene". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  31. "CNN WORLDVIEW". CNN. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  32. Rutenberg, Jim (November 13, 2000). "Shaw, a CNN Original, to Leave Network in February". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  33. "Judy Woodruff". CNN. 2003. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  34. "Judy Woodruff". CNN. 2000. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  35. Carmody, John (September 13, 1996). "THE TV COLUMN". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  36. "Judy Woodruff". PBS. January 22, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2018 via Wayback Machine.
  37. "Republican Presidential Candidates Town Hall at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire". UC Santa Barbara: The American Presidency Project. October 28, 1999. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  38. "Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Phoenix, Arizona". UC Santa Barbara: The American Presidency Project. December 6, 1999. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  39. "Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Los Angeles, California". UC Santa Barbara: The American Presidency Project. March 2, 2000. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  40. "Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate in Manchester, New Hampshire". UC Santa Barbara: The American Presidency Project. January 26, 2000. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  41. "Democratic debate on CNN 2003, from the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix". YouTube. October 9, 2003. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  42. Gold, Matea (April 29, 2005). "Host of 'Inside Politics' Gives Notice to CNN". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  43. "Former Fellows and Faculty". Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  44. "Focus: Woodruff, Brooks to teach at Institute" (PDF). Sanford School of Public Policy. 2006. p. 1. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  45. "Woodruff to host Bloomberg election coverage". Current. October 31, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  46. "Judy "Listening To The Next Generation"". Adweek. February 6, 2006. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  47. "Judy Woodruff Returns to PBS to Lead "Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard"". The Pew Charitable Trusts. July 20, 2006. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  48. "Judy Woodruff Joins PBS as Senior Correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer". PBS. January 22, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  49. ""The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" and PBS Announce Major Changes". PBS. May 12, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  50. "Jim Lehrer Stepping Down from Regular Anchor Role on PBS NewsHour". PBS. May 12, 2011. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  51. "PBS NewsHour Names Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff Co-Anchors and Managing Editors". PBS. August 6, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  52. "Democratic Candidates Debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin". UC Santa Barbara: The American Presidency Project. February 11, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  53. "Press Room". International Women's Media Foundation. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  54. "IWMF Board of Directors". International Women's Media Foundation. April 9, 1997. Retrieved February 23, 2018 via Wayback Machine.
  55. "Board Of Directors". International Women's Media Foundation. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  56. Jerome, Richard (November 10, 1997). "Uphill Racer". People. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  57. "2008 Roast". Roast for Spina Bifida. February 11, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2018 via Wayback Machine.
  58. "Board of Trustees". Newseum. October 11, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2018 via Wayback Machine.
  59. "FREEDOM FORUM LEADERSHIP". Newseum Institute. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  60. "Board of Directors". Global Rights. October 28, 2005. Retrieved February 23, 2018 via Wayback Machine.
  61. "Trustees and Staff". Carnegie Corporation of New York. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  62. "America's Promise Alliance Announces New Board Members". America's Promise. October 1, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  63. "Life and Former Trustees". Urban Institute. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  64. "Staff and Trustees". The Duke Endowment. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  65. "KNIGHT COMMISSION NAMES NEW MEMBERS". Knight Commission. September 13, 2005. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  66. "Membership Roster". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  67. "Alphabetical Index of Active Members" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 2017. p. 233. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  68. "Award Winners". Radio and Television Correspondents' Association. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  70. "The Futrell Award". DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  71. "AL NEUHARTH AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE MEDIA". Newseum. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  72. "'THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW' TOPS WINNERS AT 1996 CABLEACE AWARDS". Associated Press. November 16, 1996. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  73. "International Matrix Award Recipients". Association for Women in Communications. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  74. "PAST HONOREES". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  75. Krinsky, Alissa (April 14, 2010). "Judy Woodruff Wins Lifetime Achievement Award". Adweek. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  76. "Award-Winning Broadcast Journalist to Speak at OU on Nov. 12". University of Oklahoma. October 22, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  77. "Women's Media Awards 2015". Women's Media Center. November 4, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  78. "Foremother Award". National Center for Health Research. May 9, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  79. Mullin, Benjamin (April 13, 2017). "Poynter to honor Judy Woodruff with lifetime achievement award". Poynter Institute. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  80. Shanahan, Mark (May 26, 2017). "Judy Woodruff pays tribute to Gwen Ifill at Radcliffe". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  81. Seckel, Scott (October 19, 2017). "Judy Woodruff at ASU: Journalists are not the 'enemy of the American people'". Arizona State University. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  82. "Judy Woodruff". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  83. "THE GEORGIA ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES" (DOC). Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  84. "Judy Woodruff is Affianaced to Albert Hunt". The New York Times. February 24, 1980. p. 49. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  85. Palmer, Ezra (2007). "Judy Woodruff: A Life in the News" (PDF). Los Angeles Press Club. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  86. Carmody, John (August 30, 1989). "THE TV COLUMN". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.