Major News Anchor Makes Career Switch at End of the Year

Judy Woodruff will leave PBS NewsHour at the end of the year. Woodruff's plans to leave the venerable news program were first reported back in May, but it was not until November that she publicly confirmed her plans. PBS named Woodruff's two replacements, PBS NewsHour chief correspondent Amna Nawaz and PBS News Weekend anchor Geoff Bennett. Woodruff plans to continue working at PBS through at least the 2024 elections.

"I have loved anchoring this extraordinary program, initially with my dear friend Gwen Ifill. To follow in the footsteps of Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil has been the honor of a lifetime," Woodruff, 76, said on Nov. 11. "Now, I am thrilled to be embarking on this new project to try to understand the most divided time in American politics since I started reporting. I want to listen to the American people 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 see their role as citizens, and to have long conversations with people who've given these questions careful thought."

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(Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune)

The Tulsa, Oklahoma native began her journalism career while studying at Duke University. After rising through the ranks at NBC in the late 1970s, she joined PBS for the first time in 1983. Ten years later, she moved to CNN and returned to PBS in 2006. In 2013, Woodruff officially became co-anchor of NewsHour, alongside the late Gwen Ifill. After Ifill's death, Woodriff became the show's sole anchor.

Back in May, Puck News reported that Woodruff planned to leave NewsHour. Nawaz and Bennett were considered the top candidates to replace her, and PBS formally named them as the new anchors on Nov. 16. Woodruff's final NewsHour broadcast will be on Dec. 30. Nawaz and Bennett's first broadcast will be on Jan. 2.

Although Woodruff is no longer anchoring, she plans to continue working at PBS as a senior correspondent through at least the 2024 elections. She will also host a new NewsHour segment, Judy Woodruff Presents America at a Crossroads.

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"When I made the decision to stop anchoring, I asked myself, 'What are the most important questions that journalists should be answering?'" Woodruff told The New York Times in November. "It was right there in my face: How did we end up so divided, so at each other's throats, families divided, work colleagues divided, neighborhoods divided?"

Nawaz, 43, and Bennett, 42, will lead NewsHour into a new era, making it much more than just one hour of television. The brand has expanded to include TikTok and YourTube channels. The TikTok channel hosts live discussions with PBS journalists and experts. "'NewsHour' is so much bigger than just an hour of television," Nawaz told CNN in November. "Any time I am on a college campus, they say they follow us on Instagram or see our stuff through a TikTok update. We are putting our content out in so many ways and meeting viewers where they are."