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Canandaigua native who worked with Jim Lehrer remembers his friend

Jan 23, 2020

Credit George M. Ewing Canandaigua Forum

Jim Lehrer, the veteran journalist who co-founded the PBS NewsHour has died as the age of 85.

Among those remembering him is a Canandaigua native, Michael Winship, who had worked with Lehrer at PBS. 

Winship, a veteran television writer and producer, knew Jim Lehrer for decades, including having worked as a publicist for a few years in the mid-1970s for Lehrer and his broadcast partner on the NewsHour at that time, Robert (Robin) MacNeil.

He remembers Lehrer’s professionalism and sense of fairness.

“Jim was a consummate journalist, he was always fair, he was always evenhanded, he was an awfully good reporter, he’d grown up in newspapers in Texas for KERA, the public station there, and just was a tremendous journalist,” Winship said.

And even though the NewsHour went through various iterations since it began more than 40 years, Winship says Jim Lehrer’s imprint is still there.

Jim Lehrer
Credit PBS.org

“It’s definitely on the show in terms of its efforts to always remain evenhanded and fair in its journalism and also in just the diversity of subject matter; Jim and Robin had so many diverse interests,” Winship remembered.

Winship notes besides being a great journalist, Lehrer was just a good person to be around.

“I would sum Jim up as a journalist by saying that he was always discerning, always objective, as objective as you can be in this business. That he was fair-minded, that he was thorough, that he had a wonderful sense of humor and was just a pleasure to know,” Winship said.

Jim Lehrer also visited Rochester in 2012, when he was the guest speaker at the University of Rochester's Meliora Weekend.