Published: Sat, January 25, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

An Iconic News Anchor Is Dead at 85

An Iconic News Anchor Is Dead at 85

Nothing extra. PBS wrote: "For Jim, being a journalist was by no means a self-centered endeavor- he at all times informed those that labored with him: 'It's not about us.' ..."

The Wichita native worked at the Dallas Morning News and Dallas Times Herald before moving to public station KERA-TV in the city.

His anchor desk successor, Judy Woodruff, said in a statement on Thursday: "I am broken because I lost someone who was central to my professional life, a mentor for me, and someone whose friendship I have valued for decades". He moderated 12 president debates - including all of the debates in 1996 and 2000 - more than any other journalist in USA history.

Lehrer moved to PBS by the early 1970s, and in October 1975 he grew to become the Washington correspondent for the pubcaster's nascent Robert MacNeil Report. After MacNeil retired in 1995, it was retitled to "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" and later in 2009 to "PBS NewsHour", the title it still holds today.

Lehrer speaks during a 2008 presidential debate in Oxford, Mississippi.

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And even though the NewsHour went through various iterations since it began more than 40 years, Winship says Jim Lehrer's imprint is still there.

He also anchored PBS coverage of inaugurations and conventions, dismissing criticism from other TV news organizations that the latter had become too scripted to yield much in the way of real news. And Jake Tapper of CNN called Lehrer "a wonderful man and a superb journalist". In 1996 and 2000, he moderated all of the presidential debates, the first person to ever accomplish that feat.

On the side, he was also a novelist and sometime playwright whose debut novel, "Viva Max!", was made into a movie starring Peter Ustinov. Lehrer's office at PBS was legendary for its collection of bus station memorabilia.

For 36 years, Lehrer started his newscasts with a easy phrase, "Good night, I'm Jim Lehrer".

He married his wife Kate in 1960, and the couple had three daughters, Jamie, Lucy and Amanda.

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