Jim Lehrer, co-founder and longtime anchor of 'PBS NewsHour,' dies at 85

USA TODAY | 1/24/2020 | Staff
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Jim Lehrer, a longtime anchorman for PBS who appeared on the air for more than 30 years until his retirement in 2011, died Thursday at 85, the news organization announced.

Lehner died “peacefully in his sleep,” according to PBS. He had suffered a heart attack in 1983 and more recently, had undergone heart valve surgery in April 2008.

Sadness - Share - News - Co-founder - Anchor

"It is with great sadness that we share the news that co-founder and anchor of @NewsHour Jim Lehrer has passed away," PBS tweeted.

In a tribute, PBS's Anne Azzi Davenport and Jeffrey Brown described Lehrer as an "anchor of several iterations of the 'NewsHour'" who "reported the news with a clear sense of purpose and integrity, even as the world of media changed around him."

Lehrer - Wichita - Kansas - Victoria - College

Lehrer was born in 1934 in Wichita, Kansas, and attended Victoria College in Texas before studying journalism at the University of Missouri, PBS reported. He also served three years as an infantry officer in the late 1950s.

For Lehrer, and for his friend and longtime partner Robert MacNeil, broadcast journalism was a service, with public understanding of events and issues its primary goal. Lehrer was also a frequent moderator of presidential debates.

People - Folks - Publishing - Programming - Lehrer

“We both believed the American people were not as stupid as some of the folks publishing and programming for them believed,” Lehrer wrote in his 1992 memoir, “A Bus of My Own.”

The half-hour “Robert MacNeil Report” began on PBS in 1975 with Lehrer as Washington correspondent. The two had already made names for themselves at the then-fledgling network through their work with the National Public Affairs Center for Television and its coverage of the Watergate hearings in 1973.

News - Broadcast - MacNeil-Lehrer - Report - Nation

The nightly news broadcast, later retitled the “MacNeil-Lehrer Report,” became the nation’s first one-hour TV news broadcast in 1983 and was then known as the “MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour.” After MacNeil bowed...
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