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CPB Honors Jim Lehrer with Lifetime Achievement Award

Former “PBS NewsHour” anchor Jim Lehrer–who helmed the PBS newscast for 36 years before stepping down in May–has been presented with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The award was presented at a ceremony in Austin, Texas, where the CPB board of directors was meeting.

Lehrer is only the sixth person to receive the award. with previous recipients comprised mostly of CPB board members and station chiefs.

“Over the course of his career, much of it spent in public media, Jim Lehrer has become a prominent and trusted figure in American journalism,” said Bruce Ramer, chair, CPB board of directors in a statement. “Through his straight-forward and honest reporting on PBS NEWSHOUR, Jim has helped public media earn its reputation as one of the most trusted organizations in the nation. He has become the face of PBS journalism. As such, we are very pleased to honor him with this award.”

More information from the CPB, after the jump.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board Honors Jim Lehrer with Lifetime Achievement Award

Lehrer acknowledged for his nearly 40-year commitment to public media journalism

Washington, D.C. (June 22, 2011) – The board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) yesterday awarded Jim Lehrer, veteran anchor of PBS NEWSHOUR, with its Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding individual contributions to public media.

Lehrer, who recently stepped down as lead anchor of PBS NEWSHOUR after 36 years, was honored for his commitment to responsible public media journalism and his leadership in delivering serious, fair-minded and balanced daily reporting on issues of national and global importance.

“Over the course of his career, much of it spent in public media, Jim Lehrer has become a prominent and trusted figure in American journalism,” said Bruce Ramer, chair, CPB board of directors. “Through his straight-forward and honest reporting on PBS NEWSHOUR, Jim has helped public media earn its reputation as one of the most trusted organizations in the nation. He has become the face of PBS journalism. As such, we are very pleased to honor him with this award.”

“I am grateful to CPB,” said Jim Lehrer, “not just for this award, but for CPB’s enduring support for the NEWSHOUR and for making it possible for me to practice our kind of journalism, MacNeil/Lehrer journalism, these many years.”

He received his award at a ceremony in Austin, Texas, where the CPB board of directors is meeting this week. He is only the sixth person to receive this award.

Lehrer began his journalism career in 1959 as a reporter for The Dallas Morning News. His newspaper career eventually led him to public television, first in Dallas and then in Washington, DC. Lehrer then went on to join the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT) as a correspondent.

Lehrer’s work with NPACT led to his initial association with Robert MacNeil and, ultimately, to their long-term partnership. In October 1975, the half-hour Robert MacNeil Report with Jim Lehrer as the Washington correspondent, premiered on Thirteen/WNET New York. The 1995-96 season marked the 20th year of their journalistic odyssey, as well as MacNeil’s departure and Lehrer’s stewardship of the program as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. In 2009, the program title changed to PBS NEWSHOUR to reflect the program’s expanded role as the hub of news and public affairs programming on PBS both online and on air.

Lehrer has been honored with numerous awards for journalism, including the Chairman’s Award at the 2010 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences News & Documentary Emmy Awards and the 1999 National Humanities Medal, presented by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. In October 2011, the National Press Club will present him with their top honor, the Fourth Estate Award.

He has won two Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award, and the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s Medal of Honor. In 1991, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has also been recognized with several national service awards.

Lehrer is the author of 20 novels, two memoirs and three plays.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the CPB board of directors and is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to public media over his or her lifetime. Past recipients have included CPB board members and heads of public media stations.

About CPB

CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 and is steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operation of nearly 1,300 locally-owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

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