PBS News anchor/author Jim Lehrer will share stories from his new book, Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain, on Monday, October 17, at 12 pm at Unity Temple, 875 Lake Street in Oak Park. This book of nonfiction about the presidential debates was published by Random House in September 2011. Presented by Writers at Wright, admission for this special author event is $10. Each ticket can be redeemed for $10 off the cover price of Tension City at the event. Ten percent of all book sales at this event will be donated to The Unity Temple Restoration Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at The Book Table, 1045 Lake Street or online at http://booktable.net/ .
In October 1975, the half-hour "Robert MacNeil Report," with Jim Lehrer as the Washington correspondent, premiered on Thirteen/WNET 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, Lehrer and MacNeil launched their most ambitious undertaking, "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour." 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.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1934, Jim Lehrer received a Bachelor in Journalism in 1956 from the University of Missouri before joining the Marine Corps. From 1959 to 1966, he was a reporter for The Dallas Morning News and then the Dallas Times-Herald. He was also a political columnist at the Times-Herald for several years and in 1968 became the city editor.
Lehrer's newspaper career led him to public television, first in Dallas, as KERA-TV's executive director of public affairs, on-air host and editor of a nightly news program. He subsequently moved to Washington, DC, to serve as the public affairs coordinator for PBS, and was also a member of PBS's Journalism Advisory Board and a fellow at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Lehrer went on to join the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT) as a correspondent.
It was Lehrer's work with NPACT that led to his initial association with Robert MacNeil and, ultimately, to their long-term partnership. In 1973, they teamed up to provide NPACT's continuous live coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings, broadcast on PBS. Following that Emmy-winning collaboration, Lehrer was the solo anchor for PBS coverage of the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment inquiry of Richard Nixon.
Lehrer is the author of 20 novels, two memoirs and three plays. His latest novel, Super, was published in April 2010 and is a story of celebrity and murder aboard the Sante Fe's railroad's famous Super Chief, known as "The Train of the Stars" during Hollywood's heyday. Oh Johnny, published in April 2009, is a portrait of a young man's coming of age during World War II.
Writers at Wright is a partnership between The Book Table, Friends of the Oak Park Public Library, Midwest Media, and Unity Temple Restoration Foundation dedicated to bringing the finest authors to speak at Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece, Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois.