NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams comes to Fairfield University for Open VISIONS Forum Lecture November 18


Fairfield University presents the prize-winning NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams for an Open VISIONS Forum (OVF) of University College lecture at the Quick Center for the Arts on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m.

Dr. Philip Eliasoph, who is the OVF series director and moderator, developed the ongoing lecture series eleven years ago in conjunction with University College. Dr. Eliasoph plays his traditional role of moderator and Dr. James Simon, director of the university's Journalism program joins him and Williams for lively and spontaneous conversation peppered with questions and answers.

Williams, who joined NBC in 1993, has become one of the nation's foremost television journalists, covering virtually every major breaking news event and traveling extensively around the world. The industry has honored him many times for his fine work as network evening news anchor. He is the recipient of four Edward R. Murrow awards, a fifth Emmy award, the duPont-Columbia University award and the industry's highest honor, the George Foster Peabody award.

Pleased to include this notable guest in the OVF roster, Dr. Eliasoph commented, "Hosting Brian Williams, who is serving up aces from his anchor post, is a great pleasure for Open VISIONS Forum. In the vast broadcast media landscape of today, he is surely at the top his game."

Most of the prestigious awards the veteran journalist has received were given for his on-the-spot coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in only his second year on the job as anchor. Williams was the first and only network evening news anchor to report from New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit and was the only network news anchor to report from the Superdome during the storm. He remained in New Orleans to report on the aftermath and destruction of Hurricane Katrina and continues to follow the recovery and rebuilding efforts on periodic visits to the area. The New York Times called his in-depth coverage "a defining moment as a network reporter and anchor."

Dr. Simon, himself a veteran political reporter formerly with The Associated Press, addressed the pivotal importance the presence of a well-respected anchor like Williams exemplifies in today's media, "Whenever there is a truly national story or crisis, from 9-11 to presidential elections, Americans still gather around their TV sets and rely on the traditional TV anchors like Brian to put it in perspective." He continued, "In a changing media landscape now filled with online journalism, blogs and other new forms of information, Brian Williams has shown that a traditional TV network newscast can succeed when done with intelligence, thought and style."

A serious and committed journalist whose achievements are a testament to the breadth of his abilities, Williams is also adventurous enough to try his hand at comedy. He recently concluded his workweek - which he described in his MSNBC blog as, "... a juggling act" - by spending his night off as the guest host of NBC's "Saturday Night Live." "The Hollywood Reporter" offered some perspective on the diversity of his abilities in advance of a packed week by giving him the distinction of being, "... no doubt the first guest host who in the course of a week will anchor the network's nightly newscasts, co-moderate a presidential debate and guest-host 'SNL.'"

Williams is no stranger to comedy as the late-night audience is aware. He has been seen frequently on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "The Late Show with David Letterman."

Tickets are $50 and are available online at the Open VISIONS Forum website, www.fairfield.edu/openvisions or by calling the Quick Center Box Office at (203) 254-4010; toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 6, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 102