Perspectives

TV Journalist Judy Woodruff Has Experienced Many Changes Over Four Decades


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Judy Woodruff, award-winning broadcast journalist, has spent over four decades covering Washington for PBS, CNN, and NBC. She currently is the anchor of the PBS NewsHour airing across the country on PBS stations each week-night.
She has seen monumental changes in journalism and how news is delivered over her career. One change is the role of women.
In 2013, Woodruff and her colleague Gwen Ifill were the first two women to anchor a major newscast together. Ifill died in 2016 leaving Woodruff alone at the anchor desk and leaving a hole in Woodruff’s life.
Woodruff explains that the PBS NewsHour, which is gaining audience numbers, is committed to thorough and accurate reporting in all of its stories underscored by a sense of fairness and balance.
She says, too often today, that people only want to hear news from their own political perspective – conservatives watch FOX News and liberals watch MSNBC. Instead, PBS tries to be neutral and attract all audiences interested in deep reporting.
Instead of having screaming pundits and yelling arguments among panel members, the NewsHour features veteran commentators David Brooks from the New York Times and political operative Mark Shields.
Brooks and Shields express different views but do so in a civil and respectful manner, according to Woodruff.
She also cites the explosion of social media as changing the news business. Instead of just preparing a story to be broadcast in the news segment, reporters now need to write the story for the website and add links to appropriate background documents. They also need to pepper social media with links to their work and real time updates.
As a result of technological changes, news consumers get more news today than any time in history, Woodruff says.