Arts Society & Culture

Judy Woodruff wins Peabody’s Journalistic Integrity Award

Journalism crews also honored for all they did in 2020 to serve the public

Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of the “PBS NewsHour,” has won a Peabody Award for Journalistic Integrity. A special award designated this year, it honors the sustained achievement of the highest professional standards of journalism, as well as personal integrity in reporting the news in challenging times. Jane Fonda presented Woodruff with the honor on June 10 via video. Woodruff is the first recipient of this award. Peabody also offered notable commendation to journalism crews, the unsung heroes of news, for all they did in 2020 to serve the public.

“Given the extraordinary circumstances of 2020, the Peabody Board of Jurors felt it important to honor an individual who has dedicated her life to reporting at the highest caliber with integrity no matter the challenges. After half a century of stellar reporting on everything from the Reagan White House to the Iraq War, no one deserves this award more than the esteemed Judy Woodruff,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody. “She is a trailblazer for women journalists and a role model for journalists committed to illuminating the truth at any cost.”

Peabody is based in the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Woodruff has covered politics and other news for five decades at NBC, CNN and PBS. At PBS from 1983 to 1993, she was the chief Washington correspondent for the “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.” From 1984 to 1990, she also anchored PBS’ award-winning documentary series, “Frontline with Judy Woodruff.” Moving to CNN in 1993, she served as anchor and senior correspondent for 12 years; among other duties, she anchored the weekday program “Inside Politics.” She returned to the “NewsHour” in 2007, and in 2013, she and the late Gwen Ifill were named the first two women to co-anchor a national news broadcast. After Ifill’s death, Woodruff was named sole anchor.  Her reporting career began in Atlanta, Georgia, where she covered state and local government.

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.

Peabody is also making special commendation in recognition of journalism crews for their work in 2020 amidst unprecedented challenges. Camera operators, sound and lighting techs, and producers covered the most dangerous public health crisis in a century, as well as one of the largest mass movements for equality across the nation in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. Crews also braved hostile rhetorical and physical attacks during a presidential election where the press was deemed “enemies of the people.” Monica Pearson, incoming chairwoman and former anchor of WSB-TV in Atlanta, offered a tribute on behalf of the Peabody Awards.

“In a year in which simply doing their job put their lives at risk due to the deadly coronavirus, they bravely donned masks and PPEs to file nightly reports and in-depth investigations the public needed to know,” said Pearson. “Thank you for your hard work and public service.”

The 30 winners of the 81st annual Peabody Awards will be named during a multi-day virtual celebration from June 21 through June 24. Celebrity presenters will announce each winner via a short video which will include remarks from the winners. Videos will be shared June 21-24, between 9 a.m. PT and 10:30 a.m. PT each day on the following platforms:

Twitter:           @PeabodyAwards

Instagram:       @PeabodyAwards

Facebook:       Peabody Awards

Website:          https://peabodyawards.com/