Lehrer to receive Neuharth Award Oct. 11 Jim Lehrer, executive editor and anchor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), will receive the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism during a program at The University of South Dakota on Thursday, Oct. 11.
Lehrer will be the 14th recipient of the annual award, named for USA TODAY and Freedom Forum founder Allen H. Neuharth and honors lifetime achievement in journalism.
USD and The Freedom Forum created the award in 1989 after they also jointly established the Allen H. Neuharth
Center for Excellence in Journalism. Neuharth is a 1950 graduate of USD.
Neuharth will present the award, which consists of a sculpture and a $10,000 honorarium, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre at the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. During the presentation, Lehrer will give a public lecture and respond to audience questions.
Neuharth award activities are part of the Dakota Days homecoming festivities at USD.
Because Lehrer is in the midst of covering the devastating terrorist attacks on America and he anchors a nationwide daily newscast, he will deliver the lecture in a live television broadcast that will be beamed exclusively to USD from Washington. In cooperation with PBS, there will be a special two-way satellite link between the NewsHour studio at WETA-Television in Washington and the Knutson Theatre in Vermillion.
"Jim Lehrer is a model journalist who has earned the respect and trust of the American public and his colleagues through unwavering professionalism and ethical behavior," said Neuharth. "Fairness, balance and in-depth reporting are his hallmarks. He sets a standard for how a free press should perform."
A native of Wichita,KS, Lehrer received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri before joining the Marine Corps.
He was a reporter for the Dallas Morning News and then the Dallas Times-Herald and, later, a political columnist and city editor at the Times-Herald. He served as executive director of public affairs, on-air host and editor of a nightly news program on KERA-TV, Dallas' public television station.
Lehrer later moved to Washington, DC, where he became public affairs coordinator for PBS and then a correspondent for the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT). While there, Lehrer teamed up with Robert MacNeil to provide NPACT's continuous live coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings, broadcast on PBS.
Following that Emmy-winning collaboration, Lehrer anchored the PBS coverage of the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment inquiry of President Richard Nixon.
In October 1975, the half-hour Robert MacNeil Report, with Lehrer as the Washington correspondent, premiered on WNET-TV in New York. Over the next seven years, The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (as it was renamed in 1976) won more than 30 awards for journalistic excellence.
In September 1983, the team launched The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. The 1995-96 season marked the 20th year of their collaboration, as well as MacNeil's departure and Lehrer's stewardship of the program in its current incarnation, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. MacNeil was the recipient of the Neuharth award in 1996.
Lehrer has received numerous awards, including the 1999 National Humanities Medal, presented by President Bill Clinton, two Emmy awards and the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award. In 1991, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Lehrer has served as moderator for nationally televised debates in the last four presidential elections. He is the author of 12 novels, two memoirs and three plays.
Lehrer and his wife, Kate, have been married since 1960 and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Kate, also a writer, is the author of three novels.
Past recipients of the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism are: John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center and award-winning journalist for The Tennessean, 1999; Tim Russert of NBC News and Louis D. Boccardi, president and chief executive officer of The Associated Press, 1998; Cokie Roberts of ABC News, 1997; Robert MacNeil of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, 1996; Albert R. Hunt of the Wall Street Journal and Judy Woodruff of CNN, 1995; Charles Kuralt of CBS News, 1994; Larry King of CNN, 1993; Tom Brokaw of NBC News, 1992; Helen Thomas of United Press International, 1991; Carl T. Rowan, columnist and author, 1990; and Walter Cronkite of CBS News, 1989.