Bob Woodruff

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Bob Woodruff
Bob Woodruff 2015.jpg
Bob Woodruff in February, 2015
BornRobert Warren Woodruff
(1961-08-18) August 18, 1961 (age 57)
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, U.S.
EducationColgate University
University of Michigan (J.D.)
OccupationTelevision journalist
Years active1989–present
Notable credit(s)ABC World News co-anchor
ABC News reporter
Spouse(s)Lee McConaughy
WebsiteOfficial ABC biography
Bob Woodruff Foundation

Robert Warren "Bob" Woodruff (born August 18, 1961) is an American television journalist.

Personal life[edit]

Woodruff was born on 18 August 1961, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the son of Frances Ann (Dawson) and Robert Norman Woodruff Jr., real estate agents.[1][2][3]

Woodruff married Lee McConaughy in 1988,[1] and they have four children, Macklin Robert (Mack), Cathryn, and twins Claire and Nora.

Woodruff is not related to journalist Judy Woodruff.[4]


Woodruff graduated from the private Cranbrook Kingswood school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1979. He earned a B.A. in 1983 from Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, where he 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, and he is an alumnus of Theta Chi Fraternity.[5]


After graduating from law school, Woodruff worked as a bankruptcy associate at Shearman & Sterling, LLC., in New York City.[6] In 1989, while Woodruff was teaching law in Beijing, China, CBS News hired him as an on-screen interpreter during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Shortly thereafter, he left the law practice and became a full-time correspondent, initially working for several local stations.

ABC News[edit]

Woodruff began working for ABC News in 1996.[7][8] He succeeded Peter Jennings as a co-anchor of ABC World News Tonight in December 2005. In January 2006, Woodruff was critically wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Wounded in Iraq[edit]

In 2006, Woodruff was wounded while covering the war in Iraq. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was not expected to survive. However, Woodruff recovered, and is determined to help other Americans who were similarly wounded in war.

On 29 January 2006, 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.[9] 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 that he could meet with troops before President George W. Bush's State of the Union address for 2006.[10]

At the time of the attack, they were embedded with the U.S. 4th Infantry Division, traveling 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 and 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.[11] 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.[12]

Woodruff and Vogt were evacuated to the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany overnight on Sunday, January 29.[13] 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 several 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-anchors with Vargas. Vogt meanwhile was reported to be awake, mobile, and recovering.[14]

As of 7 March 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.[15] Woodruff was transferred on 16 March 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.[16] 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 6 April 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. Woodruff especially thanked the soldiers, doctors, and nurses who had saved his life.[17] 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 had lost some ground to NBC's then first-place Nightly News, anchored by Brian Williams before his ouster. Bob Schieffer on CBS Evening News also closed the gap with ABC after Woodruff's injury.[16] On 23 May 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 29 May 2006.[18]

Return to air[edit]

On 27 February 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 that had first appeared in Discover magazine several weeks earlier,[19] 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 centering 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".[20]

On 12 July 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 covered 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.[21]

Bob Woodruff Foundation[edit]


While reporting in Iraq on 29 January 2006, Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle. At the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the staff navigates a maze of more than 46,000 nonprofits to find, fund and shape innovative programs in communities where veterans, their families and caregivers live and work.[22]

More than 2.6 million U.S. service members have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since 11 September 2001. More than 51,000 service members have been physically wounded. On the basis of 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.[23] The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families thrive long after they return home.

In 2014, Woodruff was awarded the third highest honor within the Department of the Army Civilian Awards, the Outstanding Civilian Service Award, for substantial contributions to the U.S. Army community through his work with the Woodruff Foundation.


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.

Commencement addresses[edit]

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

On 11 June 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 26 April 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, New York, 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.


Bob Woodruff at the 67th Annual Peabody Awards for Wounds of War-The Long Road Home for Our Nation's Veterans

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);[24]
  • 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)


  1. ^ a b The New York Times wedding announcement
  2. ^ C.B.Kirkpatrick, Historian, Bloomfield Village, Bloomfield Hills, MI.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-01-22.
  4. ^ Veterans Hospitals Struggle to Treat Brain Injuries. PBS NewsHour. February 28, 2007.
  5. ^ "Bob Woodruff wiki". Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  6. ^ "The Recovery of Recovering Lawyer, Bob Woodruff". The Wall Street Journal, USA. 30 January 2007.
  7. ^ ABC News. "Bob Woodruff". ABC News, USA. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  8. ^ "ABC News Stories published by Bob Woodruff". ABC News, USA. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  9. ^ "ABC's Bob Woodruff seriously injured in Iraq". MSNBC. 2006-01-29.
  10. ^ "Reflections from the Woodruff Team in Baghdad". ABC News, USA. 29 January 2006.
  11. ^ "ABC's Woodruff, Cameraman Injured in Iraq". ABC News, USA. 29 January 2006.
  12. ^ "ABC's Woodruff Injured in Iraq". E! Online. 30 January 2006. Archived from the original on 19 February 2006.
  13. ^ "ABC Anchor, Bob Woodruff, Cameraman, Doug Vogt, in Iraq in Stable Condition". CNN, USA. 29 January 2006.
  14. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (2006-02-04). "Changes at ABC, Where the War Is More Than News". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  15. ^ "Struggle for Words Frustrates Woodruff". USA Today. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  16. ^ a b ABC's Woodruff Transferred from Naval Hospital, Making Progress Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., a March 2006 article from Editor & Publisher
  17. ^ ABC News blogsite Archived April 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Charles Gibson Named Sole Anchor of 'World News Tonight'". Retrieved 23 May 2006.
  19. ^ "Dead Men Walking". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  20. ^ Nightline email dated 7 March 2007
  21. ^ "Environmental News and Information - MNN - Mother Nature Network". Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  22. ^ "Bob Woodruff Foundation". Bob Woodruff Foundation, USA. 30 January 2017.
  23. ^ RAND Corporation Monograph Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery
  24. ^ 67th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2008.

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