Nov 3, 2022 - Economy & Business

Communicator spotlight: Judy Woodruff, PBS Newshour

Photo illustration of Judy Woodruff with the PBS logo.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: PBS Newshour

While honoring Judy Woodruff at the New York Women in Communications Matrix Awards, longtime CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl said, "No one asks tougher questions. No one listens better and therefore comes back with the perfect follow-up. ... She is a brilliant interviewer."

Why it matters: To be a great journalist, you have to be an effective communicator — and Woodruff is both.

  • "As news reporters, our responsibility is to inform citizens with facts and context. Whether writing or broadcasting, there is a premium on clarity," she tells Axios.

🌅 Morning ritual: She starts her day by 6:30am with a workout, followed by a hot espresso and a cold brew, banana and yogurt with blueberries for breakfast. 

🌡 Hardest day at work: Woodruff has covered some of the toughest moments in modern U.S. history, like the 1981 assassination attempt of President Reagan — " I was standing 25 feet from him and had to remain calm and focused despite seeing his press secretary Jim Brady and two others lying in pools of blood." 

  • She was at CNN during 9/11. "I anchored for eight or nine hours straight, watching the towers of the World Trade Center collapse, knowing thousands of souls were lost. There is no way to witness such a catastrophe without being deeply affected." 
  • And most recently at PBS NewsHour, she has covered the COVID-19 pandemic and the Jan. 6 insurrection. 
    • "Anchoring and reporting daily on the loss of life from COVID-19 has taken a toll on every reporter who covered it."
    • "And watching the attack on the U.S. Capitol unfold in real time was a wrenching experience. ... I believe we all learned that some Americans hold less respect for our democratic institutions than we had believed possible. It’s been sobering."

☮️ De-stress routine: To unwind, Woodruff will indulge in chocolate chip cookies or a glass of wine with dinner.

📈 Trend spot: "The enormous political polarization in the country and threats to democracy. As well as the effect smartphones and social media are having on us."

🗞 Media diet: Woodruff reads The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlantic and listens to NPR, C-SPAN radio and the Politics War Room podcast (hosted by her husband and fellow journalist, Al Hunt).

  • She's also waiting for new episodes of “The Crown” and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

💡 Tip: Work hard, seek out mentors and be a team player.

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