Bob Woodruff

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For other people named Bob Woodruff, see Bob Woodruff (disambiguation).
Bob Woodruff
Bobwoodruff.jpg
Bob Woodruff on August 12, 2007
Born Robert Warren Woodruff
(1961-08-18) August 18, 1961 (age 53)
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, U.S.
Education Colgate University
University of Michigan (J.D.)
Occupation Television journalist
Years active 1989 – present
Notable credit(s) ABC World News co-anchor
(2006)
ABC News reporter
(1996 – present)
Spouse(s) Lee McConaughy
Website
Official ABC biography
Bob Woodruff Foundation

Robert Warren "Bob" Woodruff (born August 18, 1961) is an American television journalist. His career in journalism dates back to 1989, and he is widely known for succeeding Peter Jennings as co-anchor of ABC News' weekday news broadcast, World News Tonight in December 2005. In January 2006 he was critically wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Personal life[edit]

Woodruff was born on August 18, 1961, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, to Robert N. Woodruff, Jr.,[1] and Fran Woodruff. He married Lee McConaughy in 1988[2] and they have four children.

Woodruff graduated from the private Cranbrook Kingswood school in 1979. He earned a B.A in 1983 from Colgate University, where he also played lacrosse — finishing his career with 184 points, second all-time at Colgate. Woodruff earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1987. He is an alumnus of Theta Chi Fraternity.[3]

After graduating from law school, Woodruff worked as a bankruptcy associate at Shearman & Sterling.[4] In 1989, while he was teaching law in Beijing, CBS News hired him as an on-screen interpreter during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Shortly thereafter, he left law practice and became a full-time correspondent, initially working for several local stations, then moving to ABC News in 1996.[5]

Woodruff is not related to journalist Judy Woodruff.[6]

Wounded in Iraq[edit]

In 2006, ABC News correspondent and television anchorman Bob Woodruff was wounded while covering the war in Iraq. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was not expected to survive. But Woodruff recovered, determined to help other Americans who were similarly wounded in war.

On January 29, 2006, Bob Woodruff and Canadian cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured in an explosion from an improvised explosive device near Taji, Iraq, about 12 miles (19 km) north of Baghdad.[7] Woodruff had traveled with an ABC News team to Israel to report on the aftermath of the 2006 Palestinian elections, and then via Amman to Baghdad, so he could meet with troops before President George W. Bush's State of the Union address for 2006.[8]

At the time of the attack, they were embedded with the U.S. 4th Infantry Division, travelling in an Iraqi MT-LB. Woodruff and Vogt were standing with their heads above a hatch, apparently filming a stand-up. Both men were wearing body armor and protective helmets at the time. Woodruff sustained shrapnel wounds; Vogt was struck by shrapnel in the head and suffered a broken shoulder. Both men underwent surgery for head injuries, with a joint Army & Air Force neurosurgical team, at the U.S. Air Force hospital south of Balad, located in Camp Anaconda, and were reported to be in stable condition.[9] Tom Brokaw reported on the Today show that Woodruff had also undergone surgery, with a portion of his skull being removed to reduce the damage from brain swelling.[10]

Woodruff and Vogt were evacuated to the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany overnight on Sunday, January 29.[11] On ABC World News Tonight that evening, anchor Elizabeth Vargas discussed the dangers of reporting in a combat zone.

After leaving Germany, Woodruff was treated for weeks at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.

Recovery from injuries[edit]

Woodruff was kept in a medically induced coma for 36 days to assist his recovery, and ABC News temporarily assigned Good Morning America anchors Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer to alternate duties on the evening newscast as co-anchor with Vargas. Vogt meanwhile was reported to be awake, mobile, and recovering.[12]

As of March 7, 2006, Woodruff's brother reported that the ABC anchor was beginning to walk, recognize friends and family, and speak in several languages. However, he struggled with expressive aphasia for more than a year after the injury.[13] Woodruff was transferred on March 16, 2006, to a medical facility closer to his Westchester County, New York, home, a sign of "continued progress in all respects", ABC News President David Westin said in an e-mail to staffers.[14] Westin's email noted that Woodruff was able to get around, talk to and joke with his family, but that "months of further recuperation" were still required.

On April 6, 2006, ABC News released photos of Woodruff recovering at home, along with a letter thanking everyone for their support and kindness during his ongoing recovery. He especially thanked the soldiers, doctors, and nurses who had saved his life.[15] On December 29, 2006, Woodruff's wife, Lee, an editor at Family Fun Magazine appeared on Good Morning America to discuss family activities to celebrate the New Year. During the report, anchor Kate Snow asked Lee about her husband's condition. Lee said that Bob was doing well and was currently filming a television documentary about his experiences. She also revealed that he had been back to Iraq since the incident to visit the soldiers with whom he was traveling at the time of his injury.

Consequences at ABC News[edit]

ABC's World News Tonight remained second in the Nielsen Media Research rankings, though it has lost some ground to NBC's first-place Nightly News, anchored by Brian Williams. Bob Schieffer on CBS Evening News also closed the gap with ABC after Woodruff's injury.[14] On May 23, 2006, Vargas announced her resignation from WNT, citing her doctors' recommendation to cut back her schedule considerably due to her upcoming maternity leave, and her wish to spend more time with her new baby. Gibson was then named sole anchor of the show, effective May 29, 2006.[16]

Return to air[edit]

On February 27, 2007, Woodruff appeared on Good Morning America, ABC World News with Charles Gibson, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, in advance of a documentary that aired on ABC later that evening. Despite having made great progress in his recovery, during the GMA interview with Diane Sawyer, Woodruff had some difficulty remembering words and details, such as the name of the Vietnam War and the word "injury." The hour-long documentary, "To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports‚" explored the consequences of traumatic brain injury, and highlighted the difficulties brain injured veterans face finding treatment — a subject which had first appeared in Discover magazine several weeks earlier,[17] and was elaborated on by Washington Post reporters in the exposé, "Painting Over the Problems at Walter Reed's Building 18."

Woodruff resumed his contributions to ABC World News with Charles Gibson the following day, February 28, with the first in a series of follow-up reports focusing on the problems that wounded American soldiers are encountering in their treatment and recovery, particularly at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Starting March 7, he was scheduled to begin reporting for Nightline "at regular intervals".[18]

On July 12, 2008, Woodruff began hosting a new weekly ABC News-produced newscast, Focus Earth with Bob Woodruff, on the Planet Green television channel. On Focus Earth, Woodruff covers the environmental news of the week, looking at subjects ranging from climate impact, environmental policy, political debate and world events, as well as how climate change affects religious and cultural views and issues.[19]

Book[edit]

In February 2007, Bob and Lee Woodruff published an account of their lives after Bob's injury, In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing. It details the beginnings of Woodruff's journalism career and the building of Bob and Lee's family. The book delves into the explosion in Iraq that affected his family and focuses on Bob's lengthy, ongoing recovery. A percentage of the proceeds are donated to the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation[edit]

Overview[edit]

More than 2.6 million U.S. service members have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since September 11, 2001. More than 51,000 service members have been physically wounded. Based on surveys of previously deployed service members, it is estimated that more than 320,000 have probably sustained traumatic brain injuries and more than 300,000 have probable psychological wounds.[20] The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) is the nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that post-9/11 injured service members, veterans and their families thrive long after they return home.

Mission[edit]

Helping heroes on the homefront. A national organization with grassroots reach, the Bob Woodruff Foundation complements the work of the federal government—diligently navigating the maze of more than 40,000 nonprofits providing services to veterans—to find, fund and shape innovative programs and hold them accountable for results. To date, BWF has invested more than $20 million in solutions, reaching more than 1 million service members, support personnel, veterans and their families. They focus on solutions in the areas of rehabilitation and recovery, education and employment, and quality of life. The Bob Woodruff Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by Bob Woodruff and his family, whose experiences inspired them to help make sure the nation’s heroes have access to the highest level of support and resources they deserve, for as long as they need them. For more information about the Bob Woodruff Foundation, visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org.

Commencement addresses[edit]

On May 20, 2007, Bob and Lee Woodruff gave the commencement address at Colgate University, their undergraduate alma mater.

On June 11, 2007, Woodruff gave the (boys) commencement address at his prep school alma mater, Cranbrook Kingswood. In 2006, he was awarded the school's Distinguished Alumni Award.

On April 26, 2008, Woodruff received an honorary degree and delivered a commencement address at the University of Michigan spring graduation.

On May 11, 2008, Woodruff gave the commencement address at Syracuse University in the Carrier Dome.

Woodruff and his wife Lee delivered the commencement address at the University of Arizona on May 15, 2010.

Woodruff also delivered the commencement address at Niagara University on May 22, 2010.

Woodruff delivered the commencement address at Boston College on May 21, 2012.

Woodruff covered WORLD CUP 2014 in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil for ABC NEWS/ESPN on June/July 2014.

Awards[edit]

Woodruff has received numerous journalism awards, including:

  • Radio and Television Association's David Bloom Award for Excellence in Enterprise (2006);
  • Peabody Award for Bob Woodruff Reporting: Wounds of War - The Long Road Home for Our Nation's Veterans (2007);
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's (IAVA) "Civilian Service Award" for his dedication to our nation's newest generation of veterans (2007);
  • Los Angeles Press Club's Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism (2008).
  • American Legion National Commander Public Relations Award (2013)

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Peter Jennings
World News Tonight Co-Anchor
(with Elizabeth Vargas)
January 3, 2006- May 26, 2006
(last anchored January 27, 2006)
Succeeded by
Charles Gibson