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New York, N.Y. – July 22, 2010 –The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced today that PBS NewsHour—public television’s flagship evening newscast—will receive the prestigious Chairman’s Award at the annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards ceremony at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center on September 27, 2010.  The Chairman’s Award is presented to an organization that has made a significant and distinguished contribution to the craft of broadcast journalism or documentary filmmaking.

Receiving the award on behalf of PBS Newshour will be its original co-anchors, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer; it’s longtime Executive Producer and now President of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Les Crystal: and current Executive Producer Linda Winslow, who has been with the program since its creation (as the half-hour Robert MacNeil Report) in 1975.

“We at the Academy are pleased to honor this ground-breaking news program,” said William Small, Chairman of the News and Documentary Emmy Awards. “This broadcast, and the four pioneering journalists who will accept the award on its behalf, are proof that there is an audience for serious journalism on television. PBS NewsHourrepresents 35 years of excellence and has the respect of journalists everywhere, as well as millions of viewers nightly seeking a clear picture of what is happening in the world.”

The NewsHour became the nation’s first hour-long national nightly newscast in 1983. Since then, the producers of the much honored program have maintained a steadfast commitment to serious, in-depth, and balanced long-form reporting and analysis. In addition to the four honorees mentioned above, key to the show’s success are the contributions of its past and current contributors and correspondents, among whom are its current senior correspondents Jeffrey Brown, Gwen Ifill, Ray Suarez, Margaret Warner and Judy Woodruff and News Summary and Online Correspondent, Hari Sreenivasan.

The broadcast originated in October, 1975, as the half-hour Robert MacNeil Report (and quickly renamed theMacNeil/Lehrer Report) with Robert MacNeil based in New York and Jim Lehrer in Washington, DC. Each evening the program covered one topic in depth and was envisioned as a complement to the three half-hour commercial evening news broadcasts available at the time.  It was expanded to a comprehensive full-hour broadcast in 1983 (The MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour) and distributed nationally by PBS. Robert MacNeil retired from the broadcast in 1995, at which time the program became the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. In 2009 the broadcast was renamed thePBS NewsHour and saw important changes including the resumption of a dual anchor format, and a seamless integration of the NewsHour’s broadcast and digital platforms.

The NewsHour has a nightly audience of almost three million viewers on over 300 PBS stations in the United States and via its various public radio, online and digital platforms. The program is also carried virtually coast to coast in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan; available via Orbit Satellite Television in twenty-six countries in North Africa and the Middle East and distributed globally via the United State Information Agency (USIA) WORLDNET programming service.

Robert MacNeil came to PBS in 1971, following a five-year tenure at Reuters in London and almost a dozen years at NBC News, first as a London-based correspondent and later as Washington correspondent. MacNeil, along with Jim Lehrer, co-anchored public television’s Emmy-winning coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973. Much honored, he has received, among others,  Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, a Dupont-Columbia Award and the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award. He has written a number of books including The Story of English, a companion volume to the BBC-PBS television series which he hosted, as well as its sequel, Do You Speak American, in 2005.

Jim Lehrer came to public television after 16 years at the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Times-Herald. In 1973, Lehrer teamed up with Robert MacNeil for PBS Senate Watergate hearings, and served as solo anchor of the network’s coverage of the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry of Richard Nixon. Lehrer has also won numerous journalism awards, including two Emmys, a Peabody, the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, and the William Allen White Foundation Award. In addition to his work at the NewsHour, He has written 20 novels, two memoirs and three plays. In the last six presidential elections, Lehrer has moderated eleven presidential debates.

Lester M. Crystal served as the award-winning Executive Producer of the NewsHour for 20 years, following a much-honored twenty-year career at NBC News, including a stint as Executive Producer of the Huntley/Brinkley newscast and later as President of NBC News.  He joined the NewsHour in 1983 and led the conversion of the program to television’s first hour-long newscast.  The program won numerous awards during Crystal’s tenure including: Emmy, Peabody and Overseas Press Club awards.  He remained Executive Producer until moving to the Presidency of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions in 2005.

Linda Winslow has served as Executive Producer of the NewsHour since 2005, and was the Deputy Executive Producer for 22 years before that.  In 2009, she engineered the transition to the “PBS NewsHour” and oversaw the development of a single newsroom to promote the merger of the NewsHour’s broadcast and online staffs. Between 1978 and 1983, she was Vice President for News and Public Affairs for WETA-TV in Washington, DC.  She was also a producer for the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT), which produced PBS’ coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings and the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings.
About The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® Award for News & Documentary, Sports, Daytime Entertainment, Daytime Creative Arts & Entertainment, Public & Community Service, Technology & Engineering, and Business & Financial Reporting.  Regional Emmy® Awards are given in 19 regions across the United States.  NATAS also presents the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Global Media Awards™ which recognizes excellence in the world-wide intersection of digital entertainment and technology.  Emmy® Awards given out for primetime programming are presented by our sister organization, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Beyond awards, NATAS has extensive educational programs including National Student Television and its Student Award for Excellence for outstanding journalistic work by high school students, as well as scholarships, publications, and major activities for both industry professionals and the viewing public.  For more information, please visit the website at www.emmyonline.tv


For More Information:
Paul Pillitteri, Director Communications, NATAS