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Acclaimed News Anchor And Co-Creator Of ‘PBS NewsHour’ Dead at 93

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Robert MacNeil, the longtime PBS anchor who helped start the outlet’s popular “PBS NewsHour,” which remains on air to this day, passed away of natural causes this week at the age of 93.

Robert’s daughter, Alison MacNeil, confirmed that her father passed away on Friday in a Manhattan hospital. Geoff Bennett and Amna Nawaz, co-anchors of PBS NewsHour, released a statement following MacNeil’s passing.

“Robin was one of a kind. With his distinctive voice, he brought stories to life — unraveling complex issues with clarity and compassion. Whether it was through his incisive reporting or his intimate interviews, he possessed a singular ability to connect with people. As we reflect on his many contributions, we honor his memory by continuing to pursue the truth and by fostering connections that bridge divides – just as Robin did with such grace and vigor. We are deeply grateful for the enduring legacy he leaves behind,” 

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MacNeil launched what later became the “PBS NewsHour” in 1975 with Jim Lehrer. Initially titled “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report,” the show began as a thirty-minute time slot but was expanded to an hour in 1983.

MacNeil retired as the show’s co-anchor and executive editor in 1995. By then, the program was attracting an average of five million viewers per night.

MacNeil was also present for some of the most impactful moments in recent history, including covering events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the construction of the Berlin Wall.

Robert received an Emmy for his coverage of the Watergate hearings and wrote several books after he retired from journalism.

The President and CEO of PBS released a statement following MacNeil’s passing.

“Robin’s passing marks the end of an era for PBS, and is a tremendous loss for our country.”

“His work with Jim Lehrer during the Watergate hearings, was profoundly important and groundbreaking. In creating the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, and ultimately the NewsHour, Robin and Jim set the standard for excellence in news programming through their focus on the facts and the critically important issues of the day. While we mourn his death, we honor his life and work by building on his legacy.”

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Rest in peace!

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