America at a Crossroads, with Judy Woodruff

Common Ground Committee Podcast Episode 86 Judy Woodruff

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America at a Crossroads: Veteran Journalist Judy Woodruff

Seasoned journalist Judy Woodruff has been covering US politics for more than 50 years. She moved to Washington DC in 1977 and has been there ever since, reporting for NBC, CNN, and PBS, most recently spending 11 years as anchor of the PBS News Hour.

During her career Woodruff has covered every presidential administration since Jimmy Carter and has gotten to know a lot of politicians socially as well as professionally. In the past she attended DC dinner parties where Democrats and Republicans would mingle and get along. Not anymore. “You’re very, very careful when you invite a Republican and a Democrat to the same event,” she says. She has never seen the US as divided as it is now.

In this episode we speak with Ms. Woodruff about her two-year reporting project to get to know America better, America at a Crossroads. This new series for the PBS News Hour will culminate with the 2024 presidential election. Woodruff explores our current divisions as she travels the country interviewing scholars, public figures, and ordinary people. She delves into how and why these divisions came about, and what we can do to find common ground.

Learn more about America at a Crossroads

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Judy Woodruff

Common Ground Committee Judy Woodruff headshotBroadcast journalist Judy Woodruff is the Senior Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, after serving for 11 years as its Anchor and Managing Editor. During 2023 and 2024, she is undertaking a reporting project, “America at a Crossroads,” to better understand the country’s political divide. She has covered politics and other news for more than four decades at CNN, NBC, and PBS.

The recipient of numerous awards, including the Peabody Journalistic Integrity Award, the Poynter Medal, an Emmy for Lifetime Achievement, and the Radcliffe Medal, she and the late Gwen Ifill were together awarded Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism after Woodruff and Ifill were named co-anchors of the PBS NewsHour in 2013, marking the first time an American national news broadcast would be co-anchored by two women.

For 12 years, Woodruff served as anchor and senior correspondent for CNN, where her duties included anchoring the weekday program, Inside Politics. At PBS from 1983 to 1993, she was the chief Washington correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. From 1984-1990, she also anchored PBS’ award-winning weekly documentary series, Frontline with Judy Woodruff. In 2011, Woodruff was the principal reporter for the PBS documentary Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime. And in 2007, she completed an extensive project for PBS and other news outlets on the views of young Americans called Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard.

In 2006, Woodruff was a visiting professor at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. In 2005, she was a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. From 2006-2013, she anchored a monthly program for Bloomberg Television, Conversations with Judy Woodruff.

At NBC News, Woodruff was White House correspondent from 1977 to 1982. For one year after that she served as NBC’s Today show chief Washington correspondent. She wrote the book, This is Judy Woodruff at the White House, published in 1982 by Addison-Wesley.

Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging women in communication industries worldwide. She serves on the boards of trustees of the Freedom Forum and The Duke Endowment. Formerly she was a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Urban Institute, and a member of The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Woodruff is a graduate of Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, journalist Al Hunt, and they are the parents of three children.