Popular anchorman Jim Lehrer will be the guest speaker at this month’s Great Falls Speaker’s Series (GFSS) on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., at the Great Falls Library. Lehrer, also a prolific author and a playwright, will be on-hand to discuss his newest novel, “Top Down,” about the Kennedy assassination. Signed copies of Lehrer’s book will also be available for sale (for as long as supplies last).
The award-winning journalist teamed with Robert MacNeil in 1975 to create the “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report.” In 1983, it became “The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour,” the first 60-minute evening news program on television. When MacNeil retired in 1995, the program was renamed “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”
Kristin Clark Taylor, founder of the new Great Falls Speaker’s Series which first launched in September, says Lehrer’s appearance has stirred excitement in the community.
“There’s definitely an excited buzz beginning about Mr. Lehrer’s upcoming appearance,” Taylor says. “Folks are eager to hear him reflect on the highlights of his extraordinary life, but they’re also excited about actively engaging him in a comfortable conversation – which is really what this ongoing series is all about; the comfortable exchange of ideas.”
Donna Mastran, a long-time Great Falls resident, is taking active steps to prepare for the veteran newsman’s appearance.
"I've always admired Jim Lehrer's work as a journalist, and now I'm looking forward to hearing him share his perspective as an author,” she says. “I'm reading his newest book, 'Top Down,' right now, and I'm really enjoying it. This is why I like this new speaker's series. Where else can I go to hear a best-selling author talk about the very book I happen to be reading?"
In the last seven presidential elections, the award-winning newsman moderated 12 of the nationally televised candidate debates. Born in Wichita, Kan., he began his work in journalism as a newspaper reporter in Dallas and also served three years as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps.
Taylor says that most people still see Jim Lehrer primarily as a journalist. “They don’t realize that he’s also a prolific author and playwright,” she says. “He’s written 21 novels, three non-fiction books and four plays. So it’s a unique opportunity to have him sit down with us.”
Although reserved seating is already filled to capacity, open seating remains available but is filling up quickly.