Amna Nawaz and Geoff Bennett Named Co-Anchors of PBS NewsHour
Nawaz and Bennett to Succeed Judy Woodruff on Monday, January 2, 2023
November 16, 2022
Arlington, VA (November 16, 2022) – Sharon Rockefeller, President and CEO of WETA and President of NewsHour Productions, today named PBS NewsHour chief correspondent Amna Nawaz and chief Washington correspondent and PBS News Weekend anchor Geoff Bennett co-anchors of the nightly newscast. The PBS NewsHour, co-anchored by Nawaz and Bennett, will launch on Monday, January 2, 2023. Nawaz and Bennett succeed Judy Woodruff, who has solo-anchored PBS’s nightly news broadcast since 2016, prior to which she co-anchored it alongside the late Gwen Ifill.
Bennett has reported from the White House under three presidents and has covered five presidential elections. He joined NewsHour in 2022 from NBC News, where he was a White House correspondent and substitute anchor for MSNBC. In his prior experience, he worked for NPR — beginning as an editor for Weekend Edition and later as a reporter covering Congress and the White House. An Edward R. Murrow Award recipient, Bennett began his journalism career at ABC News' World News Tonight.
On being named co-anchor of PBS NewsHour, Geoff Bennett said, "I’m proud to work with such a stellar group of journalists in pursuit of a shared mission — providing reliable reporting, solid storytelling and sharp analysis of the most important issues of the day. It’s why PBS NewsHour is one of television’s most trusted and respected news programs and why I’m honored and excited to partner with Amna in building on its rich legacy."
Nawaz, who has received Peabody Awards for her reporting at NewsHour on January 6, 2021 and global plastic pollution, has served as NewsHour’s primary substitute anchor since she joined the NewsHour in 2018. She previously was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, anchoring breaking news coverage and leading the network’s livestream coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Before that, she served as foreign correspondent and Islamabad Bureau Chief at NBC News. She is also the founder and former managing editor of NBC’s Asian America platform, and began her journalism career at ABC News Nightline just weeks before the attacks of September 11, 2001.
On being named co-anchor, Amna Nawaz added, “It’s never been more important for people to have access to news and information they trust, and the entire NewsHour team strives relentlessly towards that goal every day. I am honored to be part of this mission, to work with colleagues I admire and adore, and to take on this new role alongside Geoff as we help write the next chapter in NewsHour’s story. Today is a day I never could’ve imagined when I began my journalism career years ago, or while growing up as a first-generation, Muslim, Pakistani-American. I’m grateful, humbled, and excited for what’s ahead.”
In making the announcement, Rockefeller noted, “PBS NewsHour continues to be dedicated to excellence in journalism. Amna and Geoff bring to their new positions three essential qualities for the role – accomplished careers in substantive reporting, dedication to the purpose of journalism to illuminate and inform, and a deep respect for our audiences and the mission of public media.”
Sara Just, PBS NewsHour senior executive producer, added, “This is an exciting new chapter in the nearly 50-year history of this esteemed news brand. But while Amna and Geoff are a new generation of journalists, they share the same unwavering commitment to fair, careful and deep reporting for which this program has always been known. I look forward to seeing them shine and connect with our loyal audiences in these new roles.”
Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, also noted, “We are incredibly excited for Amna and Geoff to co-anchor the PBS NewsHour, building on the legacy of the tremendous journalists who have previously held that role. For nearly five decades, audiences have turned to the NewsHour for thoughtful coverage of the most important issues of the day, and at a time when that work is more important than ever, we are grateful that Amna and Geoff will be leading the way.”
Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, also noted, “Amna Nawaz and Geoff Bennett are both award-winning journalists who will bring deep experience and insight to their new roles and build on the great heritage of the PBS NewsHour. I look forward to watching them co-anchor the NewsHour as it begins its next chapter.”
With Bennett shifting to co-anchor of the weekday NewsHour, a new anchor of PBS News Weekend will be named in the coming weeks. Both Nawaz and Bennett will both remain NBC News and MSNBC contributors. Woodruff last week set her final broadcast date as anchor of NewsHour for Friday, December 30, 2022 and announced the launch of Judy Woodruff Presents: America at a Crossroads.
PBS NewsHour's average nightly audience in Q3 2022 (July - September 2022) totaled nearly 2 million persons. NewsHour's average monthly digital audience for the same period topped 25M persons, while video views totaled 45.9M and social reach surpassed 13M. The 2021 Erdos & Morgan Opinion Leaders survey ranked NewsHour as the #1 most Objective, Credible, and Current media organization, while for the 19th year in a row, Americans rank PBS the most-trusted institution.
PBS NewsHour is the primary daily, breaking and special news producer for PBS. It produces PBS NewsHour, PBS News Weekend, and Washington Week; primetime and daytime breaking news and political specials; documentaries; and maintains a robust footprint across digital and social platforms.
About PBS NewsHour
PBS NewsHour is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of WETA Washington, DC. Major corporate funding is provided by BDO, BNSF, Consumer Cellular, and Raymond James, with additional support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Friends of the NewsHour and others. More information on PBS NewsHour is available at www.pbs.org/newshour. You can watch and find NewsHour on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. NewsHour Productions also produces PBS News Weekend and Washington Week.
WETA and its subsidiary NewsHour Productions LLC serve local and national public media audiences by producing and distributing content of intellectual integrity and cultural merit. As the leading public broadcaster in the nation's capital, WETA serves Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational initiatives and with high-quality programming on television, radio and digital platforms. WETA is the second-largest producer of programming for the PBS system, producing news and public affairs programs, including PBS NewsHour, PBS News Weekend and Washington Week; films by Ken Burns and Florentine Films, including Benjamin Franklin, Muhammad Ali and the recent The U.S. and the Holocaust; documentaries and series with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., including Making Black America: Through the Grapevine and Finding Your Roots; performance specials including In Performance at the White House, The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, National Memorial Day Concert and A Capitol Fourth; and health content from Well Beings, a multiplatform campaign of digital and broadcast content and robust resources. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org. Visit www.facebook.com/wetatvfm on Facebook and follow @WETAtvfm on Twitter.
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PBS NewsHour History
What is now PBS NewsHour began with public television’s unprecedented, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings in 1973 by Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer. In 1975, The Robert MacNeil Report, a week nightly half-hour news program that provided in-depth coverage of a different single issue each evening, debuted locally on Thirteen/WNET in New York, with Lehrer as Washington correspondent, reporting from WETA Washington, D.C. Within months, the program was re-titled The MacNeil/Lehrer Report and was distributed nationally by PBS. In 1983, the program was renamed The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and became the nation’s first and only hour-long nightly broadcast of national news, proving there existed both a need and a substantial audience for serious, long-form journalism.
With MacNeil’s departure in 1995, the program debuted as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, produced from WETA’s studios in Arlington, Va. In December 2009, Lehrer transitioned the program from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to PBS NewsHour, adding a rotating anchor format and integrating the on-air and online news operations.
Lehrer ultimately left the anchor desk in 2011 and in 2013, then rotating anchors, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, were named co-anchors and managing editors of PBS NewsHour. Ifill and Woodruff’s appointment marked the first time a U.S. network broadcast had a female co-anchor team. Also in 2013, PBS NewsHour expanded to the weekend with PBS NewsHour Weekend, produced in collaboration with WNET in New York. Woodruff has solo anchored the NewsHour since Ifill's untimely death in November 2016.
In 2019, NewsHour launched its West bureau at ASU, which produces broadcast updates for later airings when news warrants. In addition to launching a digital anchor desk in 2021, NewsHour also launched its Communities Initiative and roster of journalists in the Dearborn/Detroit region, Fresno, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and St. Louis.
In 2022, PBS NewsHour assumed production oversight of PBS NewsHour Weekend, since renamed PBS News Weekend, as well as WETA's Washington Week.