Jim Lehrer Stepping Down As Regular Anchor

Beginning June 6 the long-time anchor of PBS Newshour will no longer be part of the regular daily anchor rotation team, but he will still appear on many Friday evenings.

Jim Lehrer said today that he will take another step toward ending his 36 years of anchoring or co-anchoring the daily public television news broadcast now known as the PBS Newshour.

He said, effective June 6, he will no longer be part of the regular daily anchor rotation team, but he will still appear on many Friday evenings to moderate the weekly analysis of Shields and Brooks — syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Lehrer said he will also remain involved in the editorial direction of Newshour and the program’s producer, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.

The decision announced today is part of the program’s latest evolution, a process that began in December 2009 with the successful transition from The Newshour with Jim Lehrer to the PBS Newshour. That move created a multi-anchor team that featured Lehrer plus Senior Correspondents Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown, Ray Suarez and Margaret Warner. That team will continue hosting the broadcast on a rotating basis.

The broadcast began in 1975 as The Robert MacNeil Report and went through several transitions to its current form.

In announcing today’s decision, Lehrer said “I have been laboring in the glories of daily journalism for 52 years … 36 of them here at the Newshour and its earlier incarnations … and there comes a time to step aside from the daily process, and that time has arrived.”

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MacNeil said of Lehrer’s announcement, “It is the most constructive and graceful exit strategy I have ever seen for someone holding a coveted and senior position in today’s media. It guarantees a continued place in today’s bewildering media spectrum for a program that will stay devoted to serious journalism.”

He added that Lehrer’s decision to remove his name from the program title helped further establish the PBS identity in the public mind, enhancing the brand name, and it also “recognized the unique freedom and support public broadcasting gave us in creating an alternative form of television journalism and building an audience for it.”


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