Woodruff has been the anchor of the weekend editions of "World News Tonight" and a regular substitute for the weekday broadcast. As one of ABC News' top correspondents, he has covered major stories throughout the country and the world. His reports from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina helped focus the nation's attention on the building tragedy there. He was ABC's lead correspondent on the Asian tsunami. He has covered the entire so-called "axis of evil," the nuclear showdown in Iran, and in June 2005 he got unprecedented access to the secretive country of North Korea. In the last presidential election, Woodruff reported on the campaign of Sen. John Edwards. He has also reported extensively on the continuing unrest in Iraq from Baghdad, Najaf, Nasariya and Basra. During the initial invasion, Woodruff reported from the front lines as an embedded journalist with the First Marine Division, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. Before moving to New York in 2002, Woodruff worked out of ABC News' London Bureau. After the Sept. 11 attacks. he was among the first Western reporters in Pakistan and was one of ABC's lead foreign correspondents during the war in Afghanistan, reporting from Kabul and Kandahar on the fall of the Taliban. Before becoming a journalist, Woodruff was an attorney.
"I am honored and humbled by this new assignment," said Woodruff. "Peter Jennings set a standard that all of us in journalism aspire to meet. Following in his path as co-anchor of this broadcast is a weighty challenge but it's also an opportunity for Elizabeth and me to help ensure the broadcast lives up to his ideals and continues his unwavering commitment to covering the world."
"I've had the opportunity to work with the 'World News Tonight' team over the past years and have been inspired by their professionalism and dedication. Their ability to put on a first-rate broadcast night after night throughout months of sadness and grief has been nothing short of amazing," said Vargas. "Bob and I are surrounded by a broadcast team and a news organization that is second to none. I am honored and excited by the opportunity to help lead 'World News Tonight' into the future."
Westin also announced that beginning Jan. 3, the 6:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. PT) and 9:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. PT) feeds would all be anchored live each night by Vargas and Woodruff. In addition to the anchored portions, reporter packages will be updated with the latest news for each feed. The change means that for the first time viewers in major markets like Los Angeles and San Francisco will always see a live evening newscast.
Also beginning Jan. 3, "World News Tonight" will produce a live daily Webcast anchored by Vargas and Woodruff. The Webcast will include a brief update of the day's top stories with a preview of that evening's "World News Tonight" broadcast and will air live on ABC News Now, ABCNEWS.com and will be distributed wirelessly. This marks the first time an evening newscast has produced a unique program for the Internet audience.
"World News Tonight" will also significantly increase its presence on ABCNEWS.com with distinct content programmed specifically for the Internet audience. The redesigned World News Tonight section at wnt.abcnews.com will provide:
In a first, "World News Tonight" correspondents and anchors' reporting will be available throughout the day, even before the broadcast.