This page reports on the background and current undertakings of key members of the NewsHour reporting team.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1934, Jim Lehrer received an A.A. degree from Victoria College and a B.J. 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.
Read more of Jim Lehrer's biography.
Until his retirement in October 1995, Robert MacNeil was
executive editor and co-anchor of the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour,
a 20-year nightly partnership with Jim Lehrer on PBS.
MacNeil's 40-year journalism career began with five years
at Reuters News Agency in London. He moved to television
in 1960 as an NBC News London-based correspondent, covering
such major events as the fighting in the Belgian Congo,
the Civil War in Algeria, the construction of the Berlin
Wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1963 he was transferred
to NBC's Washington bureau to report on the unfolding civil
rights story and to help cover the White House. MacNeil
was the NBC News correspondent covering President Kennedy
on the day he was assassinated in Dallas.
In 1965, MacNeil became the co-anchor of the first half-hour
weekend news broadcast, the Scherer-MacNeil Report on NBC.
He also anchored local newscasts and NBC News documentaries,
including "Whose Right to Bear Arms." In 1967
he returned to London to cover American and European politics
as a reporter for the British Broadcasting Corp.'s Panorama
MacNeil left the BBC in 1971 to be a senior correspondent
for PBS, where he first teamed up with Jim Lehrer to co-anchor
public television's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the Senate
Watergate hearings. Their common disenchantment with the
style and values of network news programs resulted in the
Robert MacNeil Report with Jim Lehrer. Launched in October
1975, the nightly half-hour series, soon renamed the MacNeil-Lehrer
Report, devoted its entire program each night to a single
issue. After eight years, the Report became the MacNeil-Lehrer
NewsHour, the nation's first full hour of evening news.
This innovative approach to the news won many awards, including
the 1991 International Television Society's Broadcaster
of the Year Award, two Emmys in 1992, two 1993 American
Journalism Review's Best in the Business Awards, and the
1994 Radio and Television Correspondents Association Award
for Congressional Reporting. In February 1999, with Jim
Lehrer, MacNeil was inducted into the Television Academy's
Hall of Fame.
MacNeil has won many personal awards, including two Peabodys, a Dupont-Columbia
Award, the University of Missouri Medal and the Overseas
Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a fellow of
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has honorary
degrees from many American and Canadian universities. In
January 1998, he was made an Officer in the Order of Canada.
MacNeil is the author of several books. "The People
Machine," (1968) studied the relationship between television
and politics. He has written three memoirs, "The Right
Place at the Right Time" (1982), "Wordstruck"
(1989) and "Looking For My Country, Finding Myself
in America" (2003). He wrote three best-selling novels,
"Burden of Desire" (1992), "The Voyage"
(1995) and "Breaking News" (1998). He was co-author
of "The Story of English," companion volume to
the BBC-PBS television series which he hosted, and its sequel,
"Do You Speak American?" (2005), a three-hour
PBS series on American English today.
Born in Montreal Canada in 1931 and brought up in Halifax,
Nova Scotia, MacNeil attended Dalhousie University in Halifax
and graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1955.
During his years at college, MacNeil was an actor for CBC
Radio in Halifax, an announcer at CJCH, Halifax, later at
CFRA, Ottawa, and CBO/CBOT, Ottawa. He was an aspiring playwright
before going into journalism. He became an American citizen
With Jim Lehrer, he is a partner in MacNeil/Lehrer Productions,
producers of the NewsHour, the Story of English, Learning
in America, C Everett Koop, M.D., Do You Speak American?,
By the People and other specials.
He is chairman of the board of the MacDowell Colony, a
historical retreat for artists, writers and musicians in
Peterborough, N.H. He is a trustee of the Freedom Forum
Newseum, the world's first museum of journalism, opening
soon in its new location on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington,
D.C. He is co-chairman of the Council of Conservators of
the New York Public Library.
MacNeil has four children and lives with his wife Donna
in Manhattan and Nova Scotia. Since his retirement from
daily journalism, he has devoted most of his time to writing.
Charlayne Hunter Gault
Charlayne Hunter-Gault joined the then-MacNeil/Lehrer Report
in 1977. Her assignments included substitute anchoring and
field reporting from various parts of the world. During
her association with the broadcast, she was recognized with
numerous awards, including two Emmys as well as a Peabody
for excellence in broadcast journalism for her work on Apartheid's
People, a NewsHour series about life in South Africa.
After leaving the NewsHour in 1997, Charlayne moved to
South Africa where she was chief correspondent in Africa
for National Public Radio until 1999 when she became the
Johannesburg bureau chief for CNN.
Charlayne is currently a special Africa correspondent for
NPR and is completing a book, "New News Out of Africa,"
expected to come out in June 2006. According to her publisher,
Oxford University Press, the book will offer a "fresh and
surprisingly optimistic assessment of modern Africa."
Terence Smith is an award-winning journalist who has been
a political reporter, foreign correspondent, editor and
television analyst over the course of a 40-year career.
He has written on everything from a Bedouin wedding in the
Sinai to firefights in the jungles of Vietnam.
In 1998, Smith turned to public television, founding and
leading the media unit at the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
As senior producer and media correspondent, Smith broadcast
110 in-depth tape reports and anchored some 250 studio discussions
on media issues. In the course of seven years, Smith and
his unit won 18 national awards and honors for media criticism
and analysis. He is now a special correspondent for the
In the fall of 2005, the media unit grant ended, and Smith
opted to become a freelance writer and essayist for a number
of news organizations.
More information about Terence Smith can be found at his website.
Susan Dentzer is the Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, the nation's leading journal of health policy, and an on-air analyst on health issues with The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
Dentzer assumed the job of Editor-in-Chief on May 1, 2008, after a decade as the on-air health correspondent for The NewsHour. Health Affairs, which has been called the nation's health policy "Bible," is a peer-reviewed journal published by Project HOPE that appears bimonthly in print with additional online entries published weekly at www.healthaffairs.org.
Prior to joining The NewsHour in 1998, Dentzer was chief economics correspondent and economics columnist for U.S. News & World Report, where she served from 1987 to 1997. Before joining U.S. News, Dentzer was at Newsweek, where she was a senior writer covering business news until 1987. Dentzer's work in television has included appearances as a regular analyst or commentator on CNN and The McLaughlin Group.