"Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert opens the 2005-06 Open VISIONS Forum season

"Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert opens the 2005-06 Open VISIONS Forum season

Image: Tim Russert Highly respected political analyst and "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert opens the 2005-06 Open VISIONS Forum lecture/discussion series on Monday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. The lecture, a program of Fairfield University's University College, will take place at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Russert, who will speak to a sold out Quick Center auditorium, leads an Open VISIONS Forum series filled with intriguing speakers, including author Isabel Allende, MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry, activist/attorney Anita Hill and "Monsoon Wedding" Director Mira Nair.

As managing editor and moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," Russert is one of the nation's most watched newsmen. In addition to his work on that show, he is a political analyst for NBC Nightly News and "Today," and he anchors a weekly CNBC interview program, "The Tim Russert Show." He also serves as a contributing anchor for MSNBC and is senior vice president and Washington bureau chief of NBC News.

Russert took the helm at "Meet the Press" in 1991 and has interviewed every major figure on the American political scene, helping to make the show the most watched Sunday morning interview program in the United States. Now in its 57th year, "Meet the Press" is the longest-running program in the history of television.

Russert joined NBC in 1984. The following year he supervised the live "Today" broadcasts from Rome, negotiating and arranging an appearance by Pope John Paul II, a first for American television. In 1986 and 1987, he led NBC News' weeklong broadcasts from South America, Australia and China.

Russert's contributions have not gone unnoticed. He has received 29 honorary degrees and has been asked to lecture at the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Reagan presidential libraries.

In 2001, Washingtonian magazine named Russert the best and most influential journalist in Washington, D.C., describing his "Meet the Press" as "the most interesting and important hour on television." In 2004, Reader's Digest dubbed him "America's best interviewer."

Russert is known as a knowledgeable interviewer with an ability to ask tough questions and stay on point. Anyone dreaming of the Oval Office must first run the gauntlet that is the "Meet the Press" interview.

"Plotting his interviews out like chess matches, he deploys aggressive openings, subtle feints, artfully constructed traps, and lightning offenses to crack the politicians' phony veneer and reveal the genuine veneer beneath," wrote Jack Shafer for Slate.

A sought-after moderator for Congressional, gubernatorial and presidential debates, his Election 2000 "Meet the Press" interviews with George W. Bush and Al Gore won the Joan S. Barone Award, the Radio and Television Correspondents' highest honor, and the Annenberg Center's Walter Cronkite Award.

Russert's 2000 interview with Sen. John McCain shared the 2001 Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Television Journalism. In addition, he has won the John Peter Zenger Award, the American Legion Journalism Award, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Journalism Award, the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism and the David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Communication.

Russert is a trustee for the Freedom Forum's Newseum and a board member of the Greater Washington Boys and Girls Club and America's Promise: Alliance for Youth. He has also made a name for himself in his other job - that of father to his son, Luke. In 1995, the National Father's Day Committee named Russert "Father of the Year," and Parents magazine honored him as "Dream Dad" in 1998. In 2001 the National Fatherhood Initiative gave him another "Father of the Year" nod.

In 2004, Russert profiled his own dad in "Big Russ & Me," detailing the life of a plainspoken World War II vet and giving a rare peek inside his own upbringing and values. Publisher's Weekly called the book "stupendously entertaining."

Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1950, Russert holds degrees from John Carroll University and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Before joining NBC, he worked as a counselor in the New York Governor's office and was a special counsel in the United States Senate from 1977 to 1982.

Russert is married to Maureen Orth, a writer for Vanity Fair magazine. They live in Washington, D.C. with their son.

Russert's lecture is sold out and there is a lengthy waiting list for tickets. For more information, visit www.fairfield.edu/ov_schedule.html. A cocktail reception and dinner with Russert is open to those wishing to join the Open VISIONS Forum's Patron's Circle, which includes priority seating for the season at select donor levels. For membership information, contact Elizabeth Hastings, producer, at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2688.

Posted On: 08-01-2005 10:08 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 3