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Posts Tagged ‘Robert MacNeil’

MacNeil and Lehrer Share Their Story of Nov. 22, 1963

MacNeilLehrer1963
Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer returned to their former program last night to reflect on Nov. 22, 1963 — the day President Kennedy was killed. Both men covered the president’s visit — MacNeil for NBC News and Lehrer for The Dallas Times Herald. They talked about the morning leading up to the assassination, the days following, the conspiracy theories that persist 50 years later and how the tragedy shaped their careers as reporters.

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MacNeil Lehrer Reunited on MSNBC

MacNeilLehrerMSNBCDuring coverage of the wreath-laying at the gravesite of Pres. John F. Kennedy today, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell reunited two well-known tvnewsers who sat side-by-side for 20 years delivering an hour-long evening newscast on PBS.

Both Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer were in Dallas on the day the president was shot.

MacNeil was reporting for NBC News. He explained to Mitchell the moments leading up to the shooting as he was on a bus following the motorcade. “I’ve got an NBC Radio News on the hour piece to do soon and then there was a bang. We all said, ‘what was that? was that a shot?’ Then there were two bangs closer together. I said, ‘those are shots, stop the bus.” MacNeil says he got out and “ran up the grassy knoll, as it came to be known,” where a police officer told him the president had been taken to Parkland Hospital. There, he found phone, “and was on NBC for the rest of the afternoon.”

Lehrer, a reporter for “The Dallas Times Herald,” went to the Dallas Police Department where Lee Harvey Oswald had been taken. “The place was chaos. Part of the chaos were people like me, reporters hanging out. And here comes two cops with Oswald taking him from one office to the other. I said, ‘did you kill the president?’ He said, ‘I didn’t kill anybody.’”

“I had sense enough to write that down, but I didn’t have sense enough to keep the notebook,” Lehrer added.

MacNeil and Lehrer also taped an interview with their Nov. 22, 1963 recollections for their old show, “Newshour.” That will air tomorrow night.

Judy Woodruff Elected Into American Academy of Arts and Sciences

PBS’ Judy Woodruff has been elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Woodruff, a senior correspondent for “NewsHour,” joins the program’s co-anchor Gwen Ifill and founders Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer as members of the Academy. The 220 new members announced today include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and actor Clint Eastwood.

“This is a great honor,” Woodruff said in a statement. “I am humbled to be counted among all the accomplished individuals who have been inducted into the Academy.”

Bo Jones Stops in at the ‘PBS Newshour’

A day after being announced as the new president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Bo Jones (center) met with Robert MacNeil (left) and Jim Lehrer (right) and got a tour of the studio for the company’s PBS Newshour, which MacNeil and Lehrer co-anchored for 20 years, from 1975-1995. As we reported yesterday, Jones left the Washington Post — which he called home for the last 30 years — for the top job at MacNeil/Lehrer.

(Photo: Matt Mendelsohn)

Bo Jones Named president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions

Former Washington Post publisher Bo Jones has been named president and CEO of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions the producer of PBS’s “Newshour”

“It is a happy day for us in public broadcasting,” said Robert MacNeil. “We welcome a man of such rich experience in journalism management to help us keep MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and the NEWSHOUR vital into the future.” “Bo Jones is the ideal person to take us where we must go,” adds Jim Lehrer.

Jones will head corporate and foundation funding for “Newshour,” coordinating relationships with all public television broadcasters while also developing documentary programs and projects.

MacNeil/Lehrer Productions is a partnership of MacNeil and Lehrer, the longtime co-anchors of the broadcast, along with Liberty Media Corporation.

(Photo Credit: Bill O’Leary/Washington Post)

A Return to the NewsHour for Robert MacNeil

For the first time since his retirement as co-anchor in 1995, Robert MacNeil will report a major series for the PBS NewsHour.

The six-part “Autism Now” will start tomorrow.  It’s described as “the most comprehensive look at the disorder and its impact that’s aired on American television in at least five years.” 

MacNeil has been prepping the series for more than one year. ”It grew out of the fact that I have a six year-old grandson, who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who’s on the autism spectrum,” MacNeil said in a preview chat with Hari Sreenivasan. “When I see how it has impaired his development, and his physical well-being, and the impact it’s had on his family…I just felt I had to do something about that.”

The series will be available online each day prior to airing during the broadcast.  Here’s Monday’s segment:

> Earlier on TVNewser: Robert MacNeil: Too Much ‘Hyperventilating’ Over Tabloid Stories In TV News

New ‘PBS NewsHour’ Debuts Next Week

lehrer_11-30.jpgThe NY Times’ Elizabeth Jensen and WaPo’s Howie Kurtz both write about the major changes for PBS’ Jim Lehrer and “The NewsHour,” which are some of the most significant since Robert MacNeil retired in 1995.

While he will remain executive editor, Lehrer, whose name is no longer in the title, will now be joined by co-anchors Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff and Jeffrey Brown. Additionally, the digital and television staffs have merged into a single unit as a greater focus is placed on the web.

Lehrer said he is “at ease with” the changes and that “this was not something forced on me,” but “it grew out of my own thinking.” He also still demonstrates a passion for traditional journalism.

“The shouting and opinion and jokes don’t exist if there isn’t first a story,” Lehrer told the Washington Post. “If you start at the end with Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann — I’m not knocking these people, but they’re at the end of the reaction chain. All you know is what Beck or Bill O’Reilly or Rachel Maddow or Rush Limbaugh said. But what was actually in that legislation? Where are you going to get that piece? You go to a serious news organization.”

The retitled program debuts Dec. 7th.

TVNewser first reported on the transition and name change last week, when we also learned that Hari Sreenivasan was leaving CBS to join the revamped program.

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TVNewser Recap: Week of October 4

A few of the most popular stories on TVNewser this week:

Robert MacNeil: Too Much ‘Hyperventilating’ Over Tabloid Stories In TV News

Where Are They Now? A TVNewser Series

Robert MacNeil.jpgAs we continue TVNewser’s ongoing series “Where Are They Now?”, we talk with former PBS anchor Robert MacNeil. Next week: former NBC News correspondent Norma Quarles.

He was in Dallas when JFK was shot. Berlin when the Wall went up. And in Cuba during the Missile Crisis. “I had the luck — or accident — of such extraordinary assignments,” Robert MacNeil tells TVNewser, reflecting on a journalism career that has spanned more than half a century.

A career that almost didn’t happen. After college, MacNeil set off for England to be a playwright. But “the plays didn’t sell”, he says, and he ended up taking a temporary gig with the newly-launched Independent Television News (ITN) before spending five years with Reuters in London.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

MacNeil, 78, got a big break in 1960 after he left Reuters and began freelancing. NBC’s London bureau asked him to cover for a vacationing reporter, John Chancellor. The bureau then hired MacNeil as an editorial assistant, and when Chancellor accepted a posting in Moscow, offered Chancellor’s London correspondent job to MacNeil.

(Photo by Don Perdue)

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Morton Dean: TV News “Spiraling Down Into a Deep, Dark Ravine”

Where Are They Now? A TVNewser Series

Morton Dean.jpgToday, TVNewser begins a multi-week series where we’ll catch up with some tvnewsers of yesterday to learn about their lives now, and their perspectives on the industry. We begin with former CBS and ABC newsman Morton Dean. Next week: former MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour co-anchor Robert MacNeil.

People don’t forget a distinguished voice.

Just ask Morton Dean. Retired from network news for eight years, he “surprisingly” still gets stopped by people who “usually say something about my voice, in a positive way,” he tells TVNewser. “And I always answer the same way. I [joke], ‘Are you saying to me that I had a great face for radio?’”

But make no mistake, they remember him from television, even recounting specific stories he filed over the years. That pleases Dean, a journalist to the core. “Once you’re in the business,” he explains, “you never quite leave the business, and it certainly doesn’t leave you.”

Morton Dean, 74, joined CBS News in 1963 via New York’s WCBS-TV. About two years later he moved to the network, where he spent two decades before logging another 14 years at ABC. Along the way, Dean anchored weekend editions of the CBS Evening News, was news anchor at Good Morning America, and traveled the world as a correspondent, covering everything from the Iranian hostage crisis to conflict in Kosovo.

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