NewsHour promotes Ifill and Woodruff to helm show, as TV’s first female co-anchor team

The PBS NewsHour  is reassigning its senior journalists to new roles by tapping Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff as co-anchors and managing editors of the weeknightly broadcasts. The change, announced today during the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles, drops the system of rotating anchor duties among six different NewsHour journalists. It takes effect next month. Jim Lehrer, longtime anchor and co-owner of the show through MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, retains the title of executive editor, but Ifill and Woodruff will lead editorial and strategic planning of PBS’s flagship news show. “Gwen and Judy have been the heart and soul of NewsHour for years,” said Linda Winslow, executive producer, “so it’s wonderful to formalize these new roles and give them an opportunity to provide even more input on the content and direction of the show.”

Ifill made “big mistake” in defending fired journalist, says PBS’s ombud

In his latest column, PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler considers a recent flap involving PBS NewsHour correspondent Gwen Ifill, who on Wednesday tweeted in support of fired journalist David Chalian. Chalian, the Washington bureau chief for Yahoo News, was fired after he said that Mitt Romney was “happy to have a party with black people drowning,” referring to the Republican National Convention starting as Hurricane Isaac approached New Orleans. Chalian was unaware that his microphone was on, and the comment was broadcast. Before joining Yahoo, Chalian had worked as the NewsHour’s political editor. “I can understand Ifill’s wanting to go to bat for a friend and colleague,” Getler wrote, “but my personal view is that this was a big mistake on her part, feeding, unnecessarily, a conviction among many critics and reflecting poorly on PBS.

Gwen Ifill covers GOP convention 2008

NewsHour gives party conventions 18 hours, assigns female anchor team

With the NewsHour‘s Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff stepping into co-anchor roles for PBS’s coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, producers have reconfigured their set and editorial plans for the 18 hours of live broadcasts that begin airing on PBS stations on Tuesday.

The coverage, airing at 8 p.m. ET through Thursday on most PBS stations, marks the passing of the torch from retired anchor Jim Lehrer, and makes Ifill and Woodruff the first female anchor due to co-anchor coverage of the major party conventions…