Anchor of one of the most respected news programs in America, Jim Lehrer has dedicated his life to reporting informative and unbiased news coverage of the nation's most pressing issues. Though his journalistic accomplishments are numerous, Lehrer is most proud of his success as a novelist.
Lehrer talks writing, reporting and telling America's story.
Gloria Duffy is President and CEO of The Commonwealth Club of California.
Gloria Duffy previously served as US Special Coordinator for Cooperative Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration. Her mission was to convince the countries of the former Soviet Union to give up their weapons of mass destruction, and to prevent the spread of their nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and material.
In years prior, she was the first Executive Director of Ploughshares Fund, a public charitable grant making foundation in San Francisco; Assistant Director of the Arms Control Association, a public interest group in Washington, DC; editor of Arms Control Today, and a resident consultant at the RAND Corporation.
A San Francisco native, Dr. Duffy holds M.A., M. Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Columbia University in New York, and an A.B. magna cum laude from Occidental College in Los Angeles. Gloria has also worked with the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, and been a member of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation since 1980.
Since he wasn't a very good baseball player, he turned to sports writing, then writing in general. As a member of what he's called "the Hemingway generation," he decided to support himself as a newspaper writer until he could make a living as a novelist.
After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism, Lehrer served for three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, then began his career as a newspaper reporter, columnist and editor in Dallas. His first novel, about a band of Mexican soldiers re-taking the Alamo, was published in 1966 and made into a movie. Lehrer quit his newspaper job in order to write more books, but was lured back into reporting after he accepted a part-time consulting job at the Dallas public television station. He was eventually made host and editor of a nightly news program at the station.
Lehrer then moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as public affairs coordinator for PBS and as a correspondent for the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT). At NPACT, Lehrer teamed up with Robert MacNeil to provide live coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings, broadcast on PBS. It was the beginning of a partnership that would last more than 20 years, as Lehrer and MacNeil co-hosted The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (originally The Robert MacNeil Report) from 1976 to 1983, and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour from 1983 to 1995. In 1995, MacNeil left the show, but Lehrer soldiered on as solo anchor and executive editor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
When he wasn't busy hosting the country's first hour-long news program, Lehrer wrote and published books, including a series of mystery novels featuring his fictional lieutenant governor, One-Eyed Mack, and a political satire, The Last Debate. Lehrer surprised critics and won new readers with his breakout success, White Widow, the "tender and tragic" (Washington Post) tale of a small-town Texas bus driver. He followed it with the bestselling Purple Dots, a "high-spirited Beltway romp" (The New York Times Book Review), and The Special Prisoner, about a WWII bomber pilot whose brutal experiences in a Japanese P.O.W. camp come back to haunt him 50 years later. His recent novel No Certain Rest recounts the quest of a U.S. Parks Department archaeologist to solve a murder committed during the Civil War.
Across this wide range of subjects, Lehrer is known for his careful plotting and even more careful research. Clearly, this is a man who cares about good stories -- but which is more important to him, journalism or fiction? Lehrer once admitted that he's known as "the TV guy who also writes books. Someday, maybe it will go the other way and I'll be the novelist who also does television."
Jim Lehrer, author and news anchor for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, discusses his experience as a young reporter covering the assassination of JFK, including an exchange with the Secret Service agent who ordered the bubbletop be taken off the presidential limo.
Jim Lehrer, author and news anchor for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, says philanthropists could save the declining news industry by funding a "serious, nonprofit, major news gathering organization -- for everybody."