Lehrer Receives CPB Lifetime Achievement Award

The board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting 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 straightforward 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 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, which 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.

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. 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 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.

He has won two Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award and the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s Medal of Honor. Lehrer is the author of 20 novels, two memoirs and three plays.

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