Judy Woodruff named 26th Damon Runyon Award winner from the Denver Press Club

Judy Woodruff
Judy Woodruff. Photo used with permission.

Celebrated broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, the anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour, has been named the recipient of the Denver Press Club’s 26th annual Damon Runyon Award.

Woodruff will be honored by the club on Saturday, April 11, 2020, during a banquet at the Denver Athletic Club.

“Judy Woodruff has been a pioneer in broadcasting and an ardent supporter of women in journalism and media,” said Dan Petty, president of the Denver Press Club. “Her work delivering a steady, no-frills, highly informative nightly newscast stands as a beacon amid the chaotic Washington news cycle. We couldn’t be more pleased to present to her this honor.”

Her reporting career began in Atlanta in 1970 at the CBS affiliate soon after she graduated from Duke University in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She joined NBC in 1975 to work as a general assignment reporter in Atlanta. In 1977, she moved to Washington, D.C., to become an NBC White House correspondent, covering the administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. 

Woodruff then moved to PBS, working there from 1983-1993 as the chief Washington correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour while also anchoring “Frontline with Judy Woodruff” from 1984-1990. 

In 1993, she jumped to CNN, where she worked for 12 years, anchoring the program “Inside Politics” and covering major events including Richard Nixon’s funeral and the War in Afghanistan. She returned to the NewsHour in 2007. In 2013, she and the late Gwen Ifill were named the first two women to co-anchor a national broadcast before Ifill’s death in 2016.

Woodruff joins the list of previous Runyon winners that comprise an honor roll of American journalism.

They are Jimmy Breslin, Mike Royko, Molly Ivins, Herb Caen, Pete Hamill, Ted Turner, Maureen Dowd, Tom Brokaw, David Halberstam, Ed Bradley, Carl Hiaasen, Seymour Hersh, George Will, Bob Costas, Tim Russert, Rick Reilly, P.J. O’Rourke, Anna Quindlen, Frank Deford, Mike Lupica, Katie Couric, Norm Clarke, Jill Abramson, David Simon, Marty Baron and Bob Woodward.

The award is named after Damon Runyon, a legendary journalist who grew up in Colorado, worked at The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, and became a member of the Press Club in 1907.

Runyon later went on to fame and glory in New York City as a columnist for Hearst newspapers. He is best-known for a collection of stories called “Guys and Dolls,” which later turned into a Broadway musical and a movie.

The Runyon Award banquet is the major fundraiser of the historic club, which is the oldest in the nation. Proceeds go toward the club’s historic preservation and five scholarships for $1500 and one — the John C. Ensslin Memorial Scholarship — for $3,000. The scholarships are reserved for six college journalists from universities in Colorado. 

Tickets are available from Blacktie-Colorado. For more information, email the Runyon organizing committee at runyon@denverpressclub.org or president Daniel Petty at president@denverpressclub.org.

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Daniel Petty

Dan Petty is the president of the Denver Press Club. He has been a board member since 2016. He works as the digital director of audience development for MediaNews Group and previously worked as a digital news and sports editor at the Denver Post for seven years.
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