© 2022 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Best of the Book Nook: The Special Prisoner, by Jim Lehrer (A Memorial Tribute)


When President Richard M. Nixon resigned from office he did so after millions of Americans had watched the Watergate hearings being broadcast from our US Congress on television. I was one of the viewers of that captivating, historic coverage. A number of journalists were able to use that exposure to a larger audience as a springboard to long, illustrious careers. One of those reporters was a young Jim Lehrer, he who went on to have a remarkable, distinguished career with PBS as the host of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

It didn't seem like a coincidence to me that while I was watching the Donald Trump impeachment proceedings recently on PBS a Republican senator was being interviewed and at the end of it he expressed his condolences to PBS on the death of Jim Lehrer. Jim had died that very morning and this was how I first became aware of his death, by hearing about it on PBS.

That knowledge sent me straight into the Book Nook archives to locate my 2000 interview with Jim Lehrer. He had been on book tour for his novel "The Special Prisoner" when he came out to see me here at the radio station to do a live interview.

One of the first things we discussed that day was his amazing productivity. Here was a guy who seemed quite busy enough hosting a news program that was watched every weekday by millions, and he was putting out a new novel every year, to boot. Not to mention all the other hats he was wearing. But he was from Texas and he wore that big journalistic hat with aplomb! He told me that he could write anywhere and that he did exactly that. His background as a reporter enabled him to write quickly and to meet deadlines.

His Texas drawl sounded so good on the radio. We talked about his latest novel then we dove into a conversation about his career. He had moderated presidential debates and interviewed all sorts of well known people. I asked him to name his most difficult interview subject. Listen to the interview, you might be surprised to learn who that person was and why it was so difficult for him.

Jim Lehrer was a broadcasting legend.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.