Winner, Individual 2021

Judy Woodruff

With an award-winning career that spans more than five decades, Judy Woodruff, the anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour, represents the best of television news and is one of the most trusted broadcast journalists in America.

In a world where “opinion” programs and personalities often dominate the media landscape, Woodruff has earned her reputation for delivering unbiased, fact-based news stories without the hype.

From the beginning of her career, Woodruff rose quickly through the ranks of TV newsrooms. After graduating from Duke University in 1968, the Oklahoma native began her career in local Atlanta TV news, first as a secretary at WQXI-TV, and quickly later as a reporter for WAGA-TV covering the Georgia State Legislature. As Woodruff said in a 2016 interview: “It was baptism by fire, but I can’t imagine a better way to understand American politics than to start, you know, right there.”

Her political reporting quickly drew the attention of national news executives, and in 1977 she was named White House Correspondent for NBC News. Woodruff then began her first stint at PBS in 1982, where she continued to cover the White House for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS. In 1983 she moved to CNN to host Inside Politics and CNN WorldView with Bernard Shaw.

In 2006 Woodruff returned to the PBS where seven years later, she and Gwen Ifill were named the official co-anchors of the PBS NewsHour becoming the first two women to co-anchor a national news broadcast in the U.S.

Later in 2016, Woodruff became the sole anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour after Ifill’s tragic passing. Indeed, Judy Woodruff walked us through a touching and emotional remembrance of Ifill that very day, with her steadfast delivery and her graceful authenticity.

Woodruff has covered every presidential campaign and convention since 1976. She has moderated numerous national election debates, including the 1984 Vice Presidential debate between Geraldine Ferraro and George H.W. Bush, as well as a 2016 primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, which with Ifill, was the first woman duo to moderate a Democratic presidential debate.

A mentor to many young journalists, Woodruff is founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation, which promotes women in journalism and communications worldwide. She has been a visiting Professor at Duke University and a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center. Her reporting also earned her many of the top awards in journalism including the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award, the Walter Cronkite Award, and the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.

She is tireless in her commitment to public service, which reaches beyond television, and has dedicated her platform and her voice as a mother to the empowerment of people with disabilities.

Throughout her career, Woodruff has been an outspoken advocate of the First Amendment, upholding the importance of a free and unfettered press as critical to the survival of our democracy. Never has that been more critical—never has journalistic integrity been more critical—than where we find ourselves today.

For her extraordinary contributions to American television, for her groundbreaking work, and for her commitment to telling us the truth, the Board of Jurors is proud to salute Judy Woodruff with the first-ever Peabody Award for Journalistic Integrity.