Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Jim Lehrer Awarded University of Oklahoma's First Gaylord Prize for Journalism

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Jim Lehrer Awarded University of Oklahoma's First Gaylord Prize for Journalism

Article excerpt

Jim Lehrer is no stranger to Oklahoma.

He has a series of fiction novels set in Oklahoma City, was a commencement speaker at the University of Oklahoma in 1996 and his mother was born here.

Lehrer, of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, returned to Oklahoma on Monday to receive the first Gaylord Prize from OU's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

He spoke about his experiences in journalism since the 1960s and sought to boost the spirits of today's budding journalists who are faced with fears of shrinking newsroom staffs and an abundance of entertainment and commentary presented as hard news.

Lehrer said that in a world dominated by the Internet and commentators, there is still a place for real reporters.

"Bloggers are talkers, they are commentators, they are not reporters," he said. "Talk show hosts are reactors, they are commentators, they are not reporters."

But for those people who listen to commentators or comedians, they must first know the real news to then find the parodies or interpretation reactive or funny.

He cited examples of Gov. Sarah Palin's spending on clothing, and Vice President-elect Joe Biden's penchant for putting his foot in his mouth, as events that aren't funny coming from a comedian if someone first hasn't heard those items as news. …

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