POLITICAL host Judy Woodruff has spoken out about why she is stepping down from PBS NewsHour.
The 75-year-old pioneering journalist announced during a broadcast of her show that she was leaving the newsroom.
“After a decade as the anchor of this extraordinary program, I have decided that the end of 2022 is the right time to hand over this incredibly important task to someone else,” she said.
During an interview with Sunday Moring presenter Jane Pauley, Woodruff explained that this decision does not mean she is retiring from the news world entirely.
“I’m not retiring, not doing the R-word. I will finish my anchor time and cover politics in the United States, but what I hope is to cover America,” she said.
In fact, after 13 years as a moderator, Woodruff will use the time now gained to report on the current political climate in America.
“I want to understand why we’re so divided as a country, why we’re having such a hard time talking to each other, how we got to this place and why we’re here, where we are right now, can we heal?” she told Pauley .
Judy Woodruff will officially exit her show on Friday, December 30, according to PBS.
Woodruff’s successor is expected to be named in late 2022.
She is ready to “embark on a two-year project to better understand how the American people view their country and whether today’s deep political divisions can be healed,” the network wrote in a statement.
“Woodruff will dedicate 2023 and 2024 to this national coverage project, Judy Woodruff Presents: America at a Crossroads.”
Woodruff told the network she loved anchoring PBS NewsHour with her peers and that her time on the show was “the honor of her life.”
As for her latest project, “I’m thrilled to begin this new project to try to understand the most divisive time in American politics since I started reporting,” she said in a statement.
“I want to listen to Americans 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 view their role as citizens and need to have long conversations with people who are have carefully considered these questions.”
THE LAST 50 YEARS
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Woodruff went on to study political science at Duke University in North Carolina, graduating in 1968.
From there she began a career that has spanned more than 50 years.
The broadcast journalist has worked in network, cable and public television news.
Before her big break at PBS NewsHour, Woodruff worked for ABC and CBS affiliates in Georgia.
She began her first gig at WQXI in Atlanta as a secretary.
“I’ll never forget that scene,” she told Pauley.
The news director met her in the lobby and at the end of a long conversation she said he gave her the job and told her, “Well, of course, how could I not hire someone with legs like yours.”
However, Woodruff continued to prove herself as a serious journalist, joining a generation of trailblazers such as Rita Braver, Andera Mitchell, Lesley Stahl, Martha Teichner and the late Gwen Ifill.
In 1975 she joined NBC News, where she has covered every presidential election and convention since 1976.
From 1977 to 1982, Woodruff was the chief White House correspondent for NBC News and even covered Washington for NBC’s The Today Show.
She joined PBS in 1983 and spent ten years as the Washington correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, while also hosting Frontline With Judy Woodruff from 1984-1990.
In 1993, Woodruff joined CNN, where she hosted Inside Politics for 12 years.
In 2007, she returned with Jim Lehrer as a special correspondent for The NewsHour, which became known as PBS NewsHour two years later.
Woodruff also advocates for people with disabilities.
Their first son Jeffrey, 41, was born with a mild case of spina bifida, but after surgery at age 16, Jeffrey was unable to walk due to permanent vision, hearing and speech impairments.
“He taught me that people with disabilities are people. You are just like us. They have feelings, they have heart,” Woodruff told Pauley.
words of praise
Trailblazer Lesley Stahl, who has known Woodruff since she was a White House correspondent during the Carter and Reagan administrations, told the New York Times that “Judy would never do the story herself.”
“It’s a cliche, but in the case of Judy Woodruff, it couldn’t be truer.”
In Woodruff’s long career, she hasn’t made any enemies worth mentioning.
“I don’t know anyone who would say anything bad about her, which is incredible for someone who’s been a TV star all these years,” longtime Washington journalist Sally Quinn told the outlet.
“You won’t find dirt or edges,” Ms. Quinn continued.
“I would tell you, maybe say it quietly, but there’s nothing. There’s no balance to a story about Judy Woodruff.”
The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg told the outlet that Woodruff’s courtesy made it stand out from the crowd.
“Judy could be the last adult in Washington journalism,” he said.
“She was a paragon of restraint, coolness and appropriate professional detachment from the news, and that bolsters her credibility.”
Woodruff is respected for her interviewing skills and knowledge in the field.
“She’s so respected, objective and gives you an opportunity to speak up, which is a good thing,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told WETA-TV.
Pelosi added, “She has her knowledge, so you feel like you’re speaking to someone who really understands democracy, legislation and the rest. And that’s not universal.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6675182/judy-woodruff-career-leaving-pbs-newshour/ Judy Woodruff’s career as a groundbreaking host speaks the reason she is stepping down from PBS NewsHour