FORA.tv Studios presents Jim Lehrer, news anchor for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, talking with Brian Gruber, founder and executive chairman of FORA.tv, about topics including the Obama administration, the economic crisis and the future of news media.
Brian Gruber is Founder and Executive Chairman of FORA.tv.
Gruber has twenty years experience successfully building and marketing media enterprises. As the senior marketing officer for a range of respected media institutions, he has managed billion dollar revenue budgets and large and small marketing teams.
As the first marketing director for C-SPAN, he built its affiliate sales and marketing organization, launching C-SPAN II with the largest subscriber base ever for a cable network at launch. As director of marketing for News Corp's FOXTEL, he helped build the cable television brand in Australia, going from number three to number one in cable subscriptions, brand equity and consumer awareness.
As the head of marketing of the largest urban divisions of 3 top ten cable companies (MSO's), he turned flat or negative subscriber growth into substantial gains. And as president of g/media and Principals.com, he has helped more than twenty new media companies develop brands, marketing strategies, and consumer products.
He also acted as the media adviser and new media producer for the World Affairs Council of Northern California, the nation's most prolific presenter of quality world affairs events.
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."