Former news anchor Jim Lehrer speaks at Mason

Jack Censer moderated the discussion with Jim Lehrer in Mason Hall (photo by Gopi Raghu).
Jack Censer moderated the discussion with Jim Lehrer in Mason Hall (photo by Gopi Raghu).

At a discussion on April 10, former news anchor Jim Lehrer spoke at George Mason University about his experience in journalism, and his views of the industry.

Lehrer served as both an executive editor and an anchor on Public Broadcasting Services’s Newshour.

Jack Censer, dean of College of Humanities and Social Sciences, moderated the discussion, which was sponsored by the CHSS, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Mason Wrestling Team.

Lehrer was invited to speak at Mason by his great nephew, Matthew Stull, a wrestler at Mason.

“Matt asked his uncle if he would do something to help the wrestling program,” Joe Russell, head wrestling coach for Mason, said in an email. “His uncle said he would do anything for family and would help the wrestling program.”  

Lehrer said that now was the best time to enter into journalism, despite the industry’s difficulties.

“Journalists today must learn everything to do everything well with every gadget,” Lehrer said.  “The ability to be well-informed has never been as easy as it is now. But you have to work at it.”

Lehrer began his broadcasting career at PBS in 1975 while serving as a nighttime anchor on the McNeil/Lehrer Report. Lehrer has also moderated 12 presidential election debates.

Lehrer received criticism while moderating a presidential debate during last year’s election. Some believed that Lehrer did not adequately control the conversation between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

While at Mason, Lehrer addressed the criticism, saying that he was trying to create more dialogue between the two candidates.

“It was hairy for me. It was very different,” Lehrer said. “I had six…eight…seven major subjects…at first I was trying to intercede, but then I realized that they were actually talking to each other.”

Lehrer also spoke about the state of today’s political climate, and his opinions about the future of Washington politics.

“When things start getting better, the gridlock will start to go away,” Lehrer said.

Apart from his journalistic accomplishments, Lehrer has written 20 novels, two memoirs and three plays. After the event, Lehrer spent time talking with audience members and signing copies of his book. Lehrer will be publishing his 25th book in the near future. 

C2M Student Organizations Reporter Audrey Mattaino contributed to this article.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)
Student Media Group: