Robert MacNeil is executive editor and co-anchor of The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, now in its sixth season on PBS. He is also the author of several books. His two memoirs, The Right Place at the Right Time, and the recent bestseller, Wordstruck, as will the children's version of The Story of English, co-authored by MacNeil and adapted from the best-selling companion book of the BBC-PBS TV series.
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MacNeil's journalism career began with five years at Reuters News Agency in London. He moved to television in 1960 as an NBC News London-based foreign correspondent. For the next three years, he covered such major events as the fighting in the Belgian Congo, the Civil War in Algeria, the construction of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1963, he was transferred to NBC's Washington Bureau, where he reported on civil rights and the White House. He covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas and spent most of 1964 following the presidential campaign. In 1965, he became the New York anchor of the first half-hour weekend network news broadcast, The Scherer-MacNeil Report on NBC. While in New York, he also anchored local newscasts and several NBC news documentaries, including The Big Ear and The Right to Bear Arms.
MacNeil returned to London in 1967 as a reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation's prestigious "Panorama" series. While with the BBC, be traveled back and forth across the Atlantic, covering such stories as the clash between anti-war demonstrators and the Chicago police at the 1968 Democratic Convention, and the funerals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Senator Robert Kennedy and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In 1971, he left the BBC to become a senior correspondent for PBS, where he teamed up with Jim Lehrer to co-anchor public television's Emmy Award winning coverage of the Senate Watergate Hearings. Their mutual disenchantment with the style and content of network news programs led in 1975 to the creation of the highly innovative MacNeil/Lehrer Report, which had a significant impact on the evolution of broadcast journalism. The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, which is still America's only nationwide hour of evening news, was launched in 1983. It continues to win major awards in broadcast journalism, the latest of which was a Peabody for coverage of the 1988 presidential campaign.
Born in Canada, MacNeil was an aspiring actor and playwright before becoming a journalist. He is a graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa.
With Jim Lehrer, he is a partner in MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, co-producer of the NewsHour, The Story of English, and other series and specials. He is on the Board of the New York City Ballet, and is a member of the Century Club. He lives with his wife Donna in Manhattan, and spends his weekends in their Connecticut house where he does most of his writing. His current projects are a novel and a book on Canada. He has four children.
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