Lesley Stahl: "Inside 60 Minutes"


Open VISIONS Forum Lecture Series
8 p.m., Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts

Image: Leslie StahlFairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts opens its 2012-2013 signature lecture series, Open VISIONS Forum, with legendary broadcast journalist and co-editor of 60 Minutes Lesley Stahl at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. The award-wining journalist's lecture is entitled "Inside 60 Minutes." Following Lesley Stahl's presentation, there will be an informal conversation and discussion with Professor Philip Eliasoph, OVF moderator, and Dr. James Simon, a former Associated Press reporter who created the journalism program at Fairfield University. Single tickets are $45. Moffly Media is the exclusive magazine sponsor for the 2012-13 Open VISIONS Forum series.

"We are all eager to hear how Lesley Stahl navigated the many changes in TV news - the rise of cable TV, the slow decline of the networks, the use of social media - and maintained a reputation as one of the top TV reporters in the country," said Dr. James Simon, who is now an Associate Dean of Fairfield University's College of Arts and Sciences. "She is a great choice for Open VISIONS Forum because she embodies the qualities we seek to instill in our student journalists: a sense of social justice in her work, a high level of ethics and fairness in her reporting, and avoidance from the trap of providing more heat than light."

At the podium, Lesley Stahl discusses her professional and personal life as one of the first female television reporters. Ms. Stahl was first hired at CBS News in 1972, the same day that affirmative action was passed. She entered an industry that was male-dominated, but strove to make a name for herself. With humorous and poignant anecdotes, Stahl relives her two decades of covering the White House during the Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush presidencies, and then viewing government as an "outsider" as co-editor of 60 Minutes. She details how news is gathered, and offers her insights on the major news stories she covered, including Watergate, the Iranian hostage crisis, and Iran-Contra. She also warns that now more than ever, the media controls what is news and how the industry is and is not handling that responsibility.

Lesley Stahl has been a 60 Minutes correspondent since March 1991. Her ongoing reporting on the life of a young, musical savant won her an Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting for her 2008 follow-up on Rex Lewis-Clack. She won an Emmy for her timely interview of Hewlett-Packard head Pattie Dunn in 2006. In September of 2005, Stahl landed the first interview with American hostage Roy Hallums, who was held captive by Iraqis for 10 months. Her other exclusive 60 Minutes interviews with former Bush administration officials Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke ranked among the biggest news stories of 2004. And she was the first to report that Al Gore would not run for president, in a 60 Minutes interview. Prior to joining 60 Minutes, Stahl served as CBS News White House correspondent during the Carter and Reagan presidencies and part of the term of George H. W. Bush. Her reports appeared frequently on the "CBS Evening News," first with Walter Cronkite, then with Dan Rather, and on other CBS News broadcasts.

During much of that time, she also served as moderator of Face The Nation, CBS News' Sunday public-affairs broadcast (September 1983-May 1991). For Face The Nation, she interviewed such newsmakers as Margaret Thatcher, Boris Yeltsin, Yasir Arafat and virtually every top U.S. official, including George H. W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle. From October 1990 to March 1991, Stahl supplemented her work at the White House and on Face The Nation by joining Charles Kuralt as co-anchor of "America Tonight," a daily CBS News late-night broadcast of interviews and essays. Her experiences covering Washington for more than 20 years became the subject of her book Reporting Live (Simon & Schuster, 1999).

The stories she has covered since joining CBS News in the Washington bureau in 1972 range from Watergate through the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan to the 1991 Gulf War. She has reported on every U.S.-Russian summit meeting since 1978, every economic summit of industrialized countries since 1979 and every national political convention and election night since 1974.

Stahl anchored several CBS News documentaries, including The Politics of Cancer and In the Red Blues, about the budget deficit, both for CBS Reports. She has a collection of Emmy Awards for her interviews on Face The Nation and her 60 Minutes reporting, including a Lifetime Achievement Emmy given in September 2003. Her 60 Minutes reports How He Won the War, about former FDA Commissioner David Kessler's battle with the tobacco industry, and "Punishing Saddam," which exposed the plight of Iraqi citizens, mostly children, suffering the effects of the United Nations sanctions against Iraq, were both Emmy winners. Punishing Saddam also won Stahl an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Award. Her profile of search engine giant Google earned her a 2005 Business and Financial Emmy award.

Lesley Stahl was born Dec. 16, 1941, in Swampscott, Mass., and was graduated cum laude in 1963 from Wheaton College, where she served on the board of trustees. She currently serves on the board of the New York City Ballet. 

Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at http://www.fairfield.edu/quick.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit http://www.fairfield.edu/quick.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 1, 2012

Vol. 45, No. 20