Vale: Robert MacNeil

Veteran US anchor, best known for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, has died.

Veteran US anchor Robert MacNeil, best known for the long-running PBS NewsHour and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, has died, aged 93.

He died of natural causes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

“I am devastated at the passing of a dear friend and someone who helped transform American television news, Robin MacNeil,” tweeted PBS NewsHour broadcaster Judy Woodruff. “He and Jim Lehrer were partners in creating the iconic @NewsHour on @PBS and it was the honor of my life to work with and learn from them.”

Two years after teaming in 1973 on coverage of the Watergate hearings, MacNeil and Lehrer solilaunched the 30-minute PBS news program that soon would bear their names.

Unlike other newscasts, The MacNeil/Lehrer Report focused on one story per day, retitled as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour in 1983, considered to be the USA’s first hourlong evening newscast. With the expansion to 60 minutes, the program branched beyond the single-topic approach. It was the predecessor to what is now the PBS NewsHour.

PBS NewsHour co-anchors Geoff Bennett and Amna Nawaz said in a statement today, “Robin was one of a kind. With his distinctive voice, he brought stories to life — unraveling complex issues with clarity and compassion. Whether it was through his incisive reporting or his intimate interviews, he possessed a singular ability to connect with people. As we reflect on his many contributions, we honor his memory by continuing to pursue the truth and by fostering connections that bridge divides – just as Robin did with such grace and vigor. We are deeply grateful for the enduring legacy he leaves behind.”

Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, said: “Robin’s passing marks the end of an era for PBS, and is a tremendous loss for our country. His work with Jim Lehrer during the Watergate hearings, was profoundly important and groundbreaking. In creating the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, and ultimately the NewsHour, Robin and Jim set the standard for excellence in news programming through their focus on the facts and the critically important issues of the day. While we mourn his death, we honor his life and work by building on his legacy.”

The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour screened in Australia on SBS. Lehrer died in 2020 at age 85.

Source: Deadline

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