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PBS is growing its relationship with journalists Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. The veteran newscasters, who fronted the public broadcaster’s 2012 election coverage, have been named co-anchors and managing editors of PBS NewsHour.
The move marks a new face for the evolving broadcast, which saw long-standing anchor Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil take smaller roles starting in 2011.
“When I was thinking about this announcement, I almost paused in drawing attention that it’s two women,” PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “We picked the two people who were strongest.”
Ifill and Woodruff are indeed the first female co-anchors of a nightly U.S. newscast — though the two have a long history with the broadcast and the network. They’ll sit beside each other Monday through Thursday, and Ifill will take leave on Fridays to helm her Washington Week broadcast.
The show also has given new content responsibility to three reporters: Jeffrey Brown has been named chief correspondent for arts, culture and society; Ray Suarez will serve as chief national correspondent; and Margaret Warner now is chief foreign correspondent.
“This marks an exciting new chapter in the history of PBS NewsHour,” said NewsHour executive producer Linda Winslow. “Gwen and Judy have been the heart and soul of NewsHour for years, so it’s wonderful to formalize these new roles and give them an opportunity to provide even more input on the content and direction of the show.
PBS is making a big investment in NewsHour in the fall, also launching a weekend edition starting Sept. 7.
“I am so pleased to be taking on this new role alongside my colleague and dear friend Judy Woodruff,” Ifill said. “We’ve successfully worked side-by-side for many years covering conventions, elections and countless other news events. We make a great team.”
Added Woodruff: “Gwen and I love working together and appreciate the trust viewers put in the PBS NewsHour, both on TV and online. Working with Linda and this entire terrific team, we’ll do our best to make sure the next chapter for the NewsHour upholds its reputation for excellence, independence and integrity.”
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