May 10, 2010
The end is near...
After Minnesota--Minneapolis and Hibbing--I was back on the route of the Super Chief, spending three days each in Albuquerque and Los Angeles. Both cities have energetic booksellers as well as public television stations that are propelled by staff and volunteers who exemplify the best of what we are all about. KNME, Albuquerque, and KCET, Los Angeles, are among the cream of the public broadcasting crop.
My last stop was Saturday in Austin for the Texas Writers Festival. It was an inaugural event co-sponsored by the Texas Observer and the University of Texas Press. The talk--in native twang--ranged from East Texas storytelling to capturing history in a way that is accessible. My contribution was mostly personal. It included my recounting how a high school English teacher in Beaumont, Texas, helped turn me into a wannabe writer/reporter fifty years ago.» Read More ...
May 4, 2010
As his road trip across the country continues, Jim Lehrer checked in with us from Albuquerque. He recently managed to check out the Greyhound Museum in Hibbing, Minn., while in Minneapolis for a speaking engagement.
Jim tells us one of the things he gets asked most is whether regular NewsHour analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks like each other.
You can keep up with Jim's travels as he tours the country to visit PBS stations and discuss his new novel, "Super," on this road trip page.
Photos courtesy Michael Lougee.
April 30, 2010
All of those great lines from the musical "Oklahoma" leapt into -- and remained -- in my mind the whole time I was in Kansas City. Yes, everything is up to date... etc., etc. It's a terrific place and I had a terrific two days here.
Public station KCPT has just finished a major capital fundraising campaign. I was able to say a few words of congratulations to the volunteers and staff at the station that made it happen. I also reminded one and all that their support for KCPT -- energy and spiritual as well as financial -- is at the heart of what makes it possible for us to do The NewsHour.» Read More ...
April 27, 2010
An update from Chicago:
This was the kind of day that always breathes the life and spirit of public broadcasting into me. I spent it with a wide range of Chicago citizens who give their energy and support to WTTW, Chicago's superb public television station. They -- along with others like them throughout the country -- provide us the independent platform on which we practice our NewsHour journalism. We have been there on PBS five nights a week for 35 years because of them.
There were two events co-sponsored by WTTW. The first was a luncheon at the Union League Club as part of its "Author Series." I was interviewed by my old friend Phil Ponce, a former NewsHour senior correspondent who hosts the terrific public affairs program "Chicago Tonight." Phil later did a separate interview that was broadcast last night on his program. Watch it here:» Read More ...
April 23, 2010
Within the matter of a week, we've seen Jim Lehrer e-mail us pictures from his phone, write his first blog post (from a moving train no less) and use Skype to file dispatches from his voyage across the country in support of his new novel.
"Geeks unite," he proclaimed in this video dispatch from his hometown of Wichita, Kan.
These digital reports are raising the bar for the rest of us -- for people both on-camera and behind-the-scenes -- and show the world that the recent changes at the NewsHour are not merely cosmetic. The increased integration of the online and broadcast operations, and the format changes to the broadcast are just part of a larger platform-neutral cultural shift happening here. This video is another significant indicator:
We'll have more from Jim next week. You can keep up with his travels as he tours the country to visit PBS stations and discuss his new novel, "Super," on this road trip page.
April 21, 2010
An update from New York City:
Last night's party for "Super" was, in fact, super. The MacNeils and the Quinlans created a wonderful event. The president of the Borough of Brooklyn even made me an honorary citizen of Brooklyn based on my childhood affection for the long-lost Brooklyn Dodgers.
I appeared on the Don Imus program this morning and later did a series of other radio interviews via satellite (Raleigh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, St. Louis and Cleveland) as well as the Joan Hamburg radio show here in New York.» Read More ...
April 20, 2010
I come to you from Amtrak #2166 on the way from Washington to New York. Our Acela train is just approaching Baltimore. Being on a train is a most fitting way, it seems to me, to begin the book/public TV station tour that will keep me out and away from The NewsHour for the next three weeks.
My first stop this morning was at the studios of Washington, D.C., public radio station WAMU for an hour's chat on The Diane Rehm Show, an important NPR member of our public broadcasting family. Diane is fresh from having just won a Peabody Award for her 25-years of quality broadcasting. She and I have done "launch" interviews for at least 10 of my books. The photo above shows the two of us in her studio after today's version.» Read More ...
April 16, 2010
I remember walking into Jim Lehrer's office for the first time last summer for my job interview and no amount of preparation could have readied me for the enormous collection of intriguing and distracting bus memorabilia in there. For a few seconds, I remember telling myself to stop staring at all the stuff, that I needed to focus, focus, focus. I got a few questions in edgewise about it at the end of the interview.
The collection isn't some sort of Jedi mind trick to throw visitors off their game, it is part of how Jim grew up. He explains more eloquently in this video tour.
Jim is embarking on a cross-country tour, visiting PBS stations while also promoting his 20th novel - "Super," which is set on a streamliner train in the 1950s, and I had the chance to give it a preview read. I'm not a big fiction reader but this was a pleasure to read, partly because I could almost hear his voice narrating it.
I also gained a great deal of respect for the meticulous way in which he researches his subject. He writes it as if he had ridden the 'Train to the Stars' a hundred times, as if he was a 'Super Regular.'
We'll be tracking Jim's travels on this map so check back with us for updates over the next few weeks.
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