NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Lehrer says he's retiring as a regular anchor of PBS' "NewsHour" broadcast after 35 years. After 52 years in journalism, Lehrer said Thursday that "there comes a time to step aside from the daily process, and that day has arrived." His exit will take place the week of June 6.
Lehrer's 77th birthday is next week. He said he will still appear many Fridays to moderate a weekly analysis feature with columnists Mark Shields and David Brooks. The "NewsHour" has prepared for his retirement by setting up a two-person anchor team with rotating personalities. Lehrer has generally taken Mondays and Tuesdays off the past year. Lehrer has many ties to Oklahoma. His mother was born in Phillips, which is in Coal County between Coalgate and Atoka. Lehrer was OU’s commencement speaker in 1996; also that year, the University of Oklahoma conferred upon him its highest honor, the honorary doctor of humane letters. Lehrer, a frequent visitor to Oklahoma, has written a series of satirical novels, including “Sooner Spy” and “Crown Oklahoma” about “One-Eyed Mack,” a fictional lieutenant governor of Oklahoma. In “Crown Oklahoma,” the story featured a governor obsessed with putting a dome on the Capitol. In 2000, then-Gov. Frank Keating invited Lehrer to attend the news conference announcing the plans to put a dome on the state Capitol, but Lehrer was caught up in covering the national Democratic and Republican conventions. In November 2008, Lehrer was named the first recipient of the Gaylord Prize for journalism excellence, presented by the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College. Contributing: The Oklahoman staff