Ifill and Woodruff: America’s Newest Evening News Team (2013)

Thirty years ago this was the print ad promoting the launch of PBS’  The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. The program was the first and  only hour-long nightly news broadcast in the nation.

1983 ad promoting the launch of The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour / from kpbs.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com

Fast forward to this coming Monday’s NewsHour and the introduction of “America’s Newest Evening News Team”… well,  we’ve come a long way baby.

Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill/ from: PBS, Robert Severi/Associated Press

What a novel idea! Two smart women of a “certain age” co-anchoring a nightly newscast. AP’s David Bauder interviewed the new team. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff say they were surprised by the response to the milestone pairing of two women heading up a nightly news broadcast. Strangers have been offering their congratulations.

“I’m most touched by young women who stop me on the street and tell me how happy they are about this. I’m amazed at the investment people have in this.” Gwen Ifill / AP interview

In addition to co-anchoring, Ifill and Woodruff have also been named managing editors of the broadcast along with their EP Linda Winslow. Did I forget to tell you? Yup, she’s a woman too.

 

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Doesn’t this image remind you of the old Sesame Street song “One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others”? It’s from Mediabistro’s story about CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker reorganizing his leadership team. The gist of the article is one middle-aged white man is leaving and two other middle-aged white men are joining the team. I’m not surprised by this story yet I do think this image says so much about the television news industry.

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Look!

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I’ve been doing a lot of this lately. I look back on my 25 year career as a television producer and wonder has my work made a difference? How do I keep up? Is there a place for a middle-aged woman like me?  I look at female colleagues, those who have stuck it out and those who have moved on. Why did they stay? Where did they go? What can they teach me? I look at young female interns filled with enthusiasm and remember when that was once me. What’s their future like? What wisdom can I impart on them? What questions do they have for me? I look at television news, newspapers, websites, blogs and social media and wonder what influence will women have on this industry as it evolves? I hope other women will join me as we look to each other to find answers and make our way forward.

 

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