Emmy-winning broadcast journalist Bill O'Reilly opens Open VISIONS Forum's 10th anniversary season

Emmy-winning broadcast journalist Bill O'Reilly opens Open VISIONS Forum's 10th anniversary season

Open VISIONS Forum's 10th anniversary season debuts with Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," the highest-rated cable news program in the country, on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m. in Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Open VISIONS Forum is a program of University College at Fairfield University. O'Reilly's appearance is sponsored, in part, by Somerset Capital.

O'Reilly has become one of the most listened to voices in public affairs broadcasting, developing a reputation as a masterful, opinionated interviewer who seems to revel in taking on controversial topics and guests. He's also been the focus of many heated journalism debates over the 'fair and balanced' practices of the news media.

James Simon, Ph.D., an English professor who coordinates Fairfield's journalism courses, worked as a news reporter in Boston in the 1980s, when O'Reilly was the anchor of a conventional, local nightly newscast. O'Reilly later became an award-winning ABC correspondent.

"O'Reilly deserves a place in the journalism history books for helping to make Fox News the dominant cable TV news operation of the last decade," he said. "While there was traditionally some sort of separation between news analysis and opinion, O'Reilly has combined the two into a TV format that is now imitated by all three cable TV networks at almost every hour of every night. But other people just don't do it as well as he does."

"The O'Reilly Factor," which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, has been the highest-rated cable news broadcast for about four years and is seen in more than 30 countries.

In addition to his television program, O'Reilly hosts "The Radio Factor," a two-hour call-in show, which is heard on more than 400 stations in the United States. It has become one of the most profitable radio franchises in the nation.

O'Reilly has also been a popular force in non-fiction in recent years. Three of his books - "The O'Reilly Factor," "The No Spin Zone" and "Who's Looking Out for You" - have each reached the number one spot on the New York Times best-seller list. And his children's book, "The O'Reilly Factor for Kids," was the best-selling children's non-fiction book of 2005.

His latest, "Culture Warrior," due on bookstore shelves on Sept. 25, considers what he sees as a struggle between those embracing traditional values and those who envision America as a burgeoning "secular-progressive" country.

O'Reilly began his broadcast career in Scranton, Penn., and moved on to serve as a local news reporter/anchor in several top markets, including Dallas, Denver, Boston and Portland, Ore. In 1980, he returned home to New York City for a stint at WCBS-TV before moving onto the national scene reporting for CBS and ABC News. O'Reilly continued to climb into the spotlight as the anchor of the syndicated program "Inside Edition," before moving to Fox in 1996.

Born in Manhattan and raised on Long Island, O'Reilly holds a degree in history from Marist College, a master's in broadcast journalism from Boston University, and a second master's in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Open VISIONS Forum's 10th anniversary season continues on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. with novelist Joan Didion.

Tickets to O'Reilly's talk are $35, $30 for senior citizens, but general admission tickets are sold out and there is a wait list. There are select seats available at the $250 level, which includes the lecture and a post-lecture reception with O'Reilly. For information on those tickets, call Open VISIONS Forum Producer Elizabeth Hastings at (203) 254-4307. For all other ticket information, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

Posted On: 08-17-2006 10:08 AM

Volume: 39 Number: 12