PBS Newsman and Author Jim Lehrer Visits Bloomington as Hamilton Fellow
Jim Lehrer, distinguished journalist and executive editor and anchor of the "PBS NewsHour," spoke at Indiana University Bloomington on April 13, discussing the 2012 election campaign and his new book, "Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain." View Lehrer’s public talk at http://www.indiana.edu/~ias/?q=node/264
While Lehrer was on campus, the Center on Congress and the Institute for Advanced Study presented him with the first Lee H. Hamilton Public Service Fellowship. "Jim Lehrer has set the standard for journalistic excellence, professional integrity and personal civility," said Hamilton, who served in Congress from 1965 to 1999.
"The Institute for Advanced Study has a long history of bringing distinguished public servants to the IU campus," added John Bodnar, director of the Institute for Advanced Study and Chancellor's Professor in the Department of History. "We are particularly proud to be able to honor two such individuals — Jim Lehrer and Lee Hamilton — in one special occasion."
Along with the Center on Congress and the Institute for Advanced Study, co-hosting Lehrer’s visit were the IU School of Journalism and WTIU. Lehrer’s itinerary included a luncheon and question-and-answer session with students; Lehrer’s public talk in the afternoon to a packed house in Ballantine Hall; and an evening reception and dinner honoring Lehrer as the inaugural Hamilton Public Service Fellow. Funding for the Fellowship was provided in part by a grant from the Cummins Foundation.
Known best for 30 years of nightly news reporting on PBS, Lehrer started working first as a newspaper reporter, then a political columnist and city editor. His first work in public television was as executive director of public affairs and host of a nightly news program in Dallas. He moved to PBS to serve as news and public affairs coordinator and, in 1973, partnered on air with correspondent Robert MacNeil to provide coverage and analysis of the Watergate hearings.
By 1975, "The Robert MacNeil Report" debuted with Lehrer as the Washington correspondent and shortly was renamed "The MacNeil/Lehrer Report" with Lehrer as co-anchor. The show won more than 30 awards and became a staple of the PBS lineup.
MacNeil retired in 1996, and Lehrer left nightly anchor duties last year. He remains executive editor of the program and occasionally anchors Friday night analyses.
Lehrer is the recipient of the National Press Club's Fourth Estate Award, two Emmys, the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award and the William Allen White Foundation Award for Journalistic Merit. He is a member of the Television Hall of Fame and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Lehrer also has served as moderator for 11 presidential election debates, including the 2008 Obama-McCain series, and has crafted a second career as author of many books, memoirs and plays, including several mystery/thrillers and a recent nonfiction book about presidential elections.