The PBS NewsHour anchor is walking away from the chair he has held for decades. Robert MacNeil, his former co-anchor and the co-founder of the program, on Lehrer’s legacy and his extraordinary no-drama transition.
I find Jim Lehrer’s manner of withdrawing as chief anchor of the PBS NewsHour quite remarkable because I can’t recall any news anchor doing it as he has.
First, he took his name off the program. Has anyone ever done that before? Voluntarily? In December 2009, with his full approval, the program ceased being The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and became The PBS NewsHour. It was a ground-breaking moment. It ratified the NewsHour’s position anchoring the PBS evening program schedule. It helped further to fix the PBS identity in the public mind, enhancing the brand name, and it recognised the unique freedom and support public broadcasting gave us in creating an alternative form of television journalism and building an audience for it.