By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Robert MacNeil, 1931-2024

I’m genuinely surprised to learn that Robert MacNeil — who died today at the age of 93 — was still alive. I wasn’t watching the “PBS NewsHour” back when he was on the air and only started to tune in when the late Jim Lehrer was anchoring. I think they’ve done a good job of transitioning to a younger team without losing their seriousness. I’m also glad that Judy Woodruff still weighs in occasionally, and I really miss Gwen Ifill.

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  1. Terry Cowgill

    Robin MacNeil covered the Kennedy assassination, which happened while I was sitting in a first-grade classroom in Dallas. He was in Dealey Plaza, then hitched a ride to Parkland where he was one of the first reporters to file a report. One of the finest journalists to come out of Canada.

  2. NahantJim Walsh

    I started watching the MacNeil/Lehrer report from its very beginning. There were a limited number of stories and they would go into some depth on the stories they chose to discuss and rarely from a single point of view. Their guests were knowledgeable and not without opinions, but they would not have AOC/MTJ types as their interlucutors. Slowly over time the format changed and not necessarily for the better. I do miss Gwen Ifil and we do watch it every night, but I think I miss Walter Cronkite more…

  3. Cynthia Stead

    Did you know that the McNeil/Lehrer report has a score of 7.6 on IMDB making it one of the highest scored news shows ever?

    (Couldn’t stand Cronkite….was a Huntley/Brinkley watcher).

    • Dan Kennedy

      My parents were also dedicated Huntley-Brinkley watchers. I rarely saw Cronkite except during NASA launches.

  4. Paul Hutch

    I watched The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (1983-1995) every weeknight for its whole run.

    Robert (AKA Robin) MacNeil’s television series The Story of English, and the companion book, taught me so much about the regional dialects and accents of spoken English. Since watching that show I’ve embraced my native Yankee accent instead of trying to lose it like my public school teachers had encouraged me to do.

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