Longtime Washington Post exec Bo Jones to MacNeil/Lehrer

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After more than three decades with The Washington Post, Bo Jones will become President and CEO of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, which produces “PBS Newshour.” Jones, who is currently chairman of The Washington Post, will lead funding efforts for the hourlong nightly newscast and work with stations and distributors. He will also be involved in program development. “Newshour” original anchor Jim Lehrer will leave the position in December. Jones starts in January.

Leading Media Executive Bo Jones to join MacNeil/Lehrer Productions as President and CEO

Long-time Washington Post Executive will head company that produces the PBS Newshour effective January 2012

(October 27, 2011 – Arlington, VA) MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, producer of the PBS NEWSHOUR, is pleased to announce the appointment of long-time Washington Post executive, Boisfeuillet (Bo) Jones Jr., as new President & CEO.  He will join MacNeil/Lehrer Productions at the first of the year.

“It is a happy day for us in public broadcasting,” said Robert MacNeil.  “We welcome a man of such rich experience in journalism management to help us keep MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and the NEWSHOUR vital into the future.”

Mr. Jones has served 32 years with The Washington Post as Vice President & Counsel, President & General Manager, then Publisher & CEO from 2000 to 2008.  At present he is Vice Chairman of the Washington Post Company and Chairman of The Washington Post newspaper.

As President of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Jones will head corporate and foundation funding for the NEWSHOUR, coordinate relationships with all public television broadcast and distribution entities, as well as develop documentary programs and projects.

“Like millions of others, I am a huge fan of the NEWSHOUR,” said Mr. Jones. “I heartily look forward to helping MacNeil/Lehrer Productions sustain and expand its excellent and very special programming.”

MacNeil/Lehrer Productions (MLP), a partnership of Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil, with Liberty Media Corporation, is best known as the producer of the PBS NEWSHOUR, the nation’s most respected evening news program.

MacNeil and Lehrer came together when they anchored public television’s non-stop coverage of the Senate Watergate Hearings in 1973.  That programming won their first Emmy and gave them an identity as a news team that continued  with the nightly MacNeil-Lehrer Report and the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour, America’s first hour-long national news program.  MacNeil/Lehrer Productions was founded in 1981.

Jim Lehrer said:  “Bo Jones is the ideal person to take us where we must go. He has a unique combination of journalistic integrity and business acumen, plus he understands Americans’ increasing demand for serious journalism about the issues and events that matter.”

A native of Atlanta, Bo Jones is a graduate of Harvard College, where he was President of the Harvard Crimson newspaper.  Later on a Rhodes Scholarship, he graduated from Oxford University, then from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He was an attorney with Hill and Barlow in Boston from 1975 to 1980, and was law clerk for the Honorable Levin H. Campbell, a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, from 1974-1975.

Mr. Jones is a trustee of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and a former director of the Associated Press and the Newspaper Association of America.

Linda Winslow, the PBS NEWSHOUR’s Executive Producer, said: “Bo Jones’ background and experience make him the ideal choice to be the new head of MLP.  With his help the company, and by extension the PBS NEWSHOUR, will continue as an iconic news organization.”

Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of changes designed to keep MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and the PBS NEWSHOUR competitive in an evolving multi-media landscape.  That process began in December 2009 with the successful transition from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to the PBS NEWSHOUR. That move created a multi-anchor team that features Lehrer plus Senior Correspondents Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown, Ray Suarez and Margaret Warner and involved the complete integration of the NEWSHOUR’s on-air and online operations. In December 2011, Jim Lehrer will leave the anchor position, but will continue to oversee the program as Executive Editor.

In addition to the PBS NEWSHOUR, MLP has produced several documentaries and features.  Recent examples include: Debating our Destiny, a critically acclaimed two-part series during which Jim Lehrer interviews former presidential and vice-presidential candidates about their debate triumphs and failures; Generation Next, Judy Woodruff’s travels across the country to explore the unique perspectives of Americans ages 16 – 25; the award-winning Do You Speak American?, Robert MacNeil’s cross country trek to discover why Americans speak the way we do; and a series of documentaries exploring the role of the modern first lady which includes: The First Lady: Public Expectations, Private Lives; Betty Ford: The Real Deal; LadyBird and Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime.  MLP is also the leading force behind By the People, a civic engagement project.

As MLP President, Mr. Jones will succeed Simon Marks, who has decided to return to reporting and production.  Mr. Marks helped lead the NEWSHOUR through important changes, merging the television program with a greatly enhanced online presence.

MacNeil/Lehrer Productions produces the PBS NEWSHOUR, which airs weeknights on more than 315 local PBS stations, as well as other programs for public, commercial and cable television.

PBS NEWSHOUR is seen by over 5 million weekly viewers and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced in association with WETA Washington, DC, and WNET.org in New York. Major corporate funding for the PBS NEWSHOUR is provided by Chevron and Intel, with additional support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.

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