Beloved Journalist and Novelist Robert MacNeil Dead at 93

Robert MacNeil, the journalist who brought news to PBS, died Friday “after a long illness” according to the PBS news representative who confirmed MacNeil’s death.

It was the Canadian-born journalist’s coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to the first newscasts on PBS. He was the founding anchor of “PBS NewsHour,” first launched in 1975 as “The Robert MacNeil Report” and later renamed “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” when journalist Jim Lehrer was added to the lineup. Lehrer passed away in 2020.

MacNeil was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Jan. 19, 1931, the son of a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He dropped out of Dalhousie University in Halifax to pursue an acting career and became an announcer for CBC.

January Magazine interviewed MacNeil at the time of the publication of his 1998 novel, Breaking News. You can see that interview, as well as a review of that book, here. ◊

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