SRL Remembers Jim Lehrer

Today, Student Reporting Labs (SRL) fondly remembers the PBS NewsHour’s legendary long-time anchor and co-founder, Jim Lehrer, who was an ardent supporter of the Student Reporting Labs. He passed away today at the age of 85.

“Jim Lehrer will always be a guiding star for the kind of thoughtful civic journalism we do with high school students,” said Leah Clapman, SRL Founder. 

He was the first to say ‘yes’ when SRL asked to record a message to high school journalism students––and met with aspiring reporters whenever he could.


“It gives me great hope and pleasure to see Student Reporting Labs on the PBS NewsHour, knowing that future generations are learning to appreciate and practice the highest standards of what I like to call MacNeil/Lehrer journalism. The program epitomizes the mission of public media and takes advantage of the network of PBS affiliates to empower students to seek the truth, tell important stories and then gives them a national platform to air their reporting. It’s unique and needed now more than ever. I look forward to watching the next generation of Robins, Gwens, and Judys make an impact on their communities and the nation.” – Jim Lehrer, 2017

SRL’s curriculum could not have been a success without his guidance. His “A Journalist’s Guidelines” became the basis for SRL’s 10 Rules of Journalism for Students. It illustrates the PBS NewsHour’s commitment to exceptional and ethical journalism.

Jim Lehrer’s 10 Rules of Journalism for Students

  1. Do nothing I cannot defend.
  2. Do not distort, lie, slant or hype
  3. Do not falsify facts or make up quotes
  4. Cover, write and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.
  5. Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.
  6. Assume the viewer is as smart and as caring and as good a person as I am.
  7. Assume the same about people on whom I report.
  8. Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories, and clearly label everything.
  9. Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes, except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.
  10. Acknowledge that objectivity may be impossible but fairness never is.

Read about one student’s experience meeting Jim Lehrer when he taped at PBS Austin’s studios here. 

SRL salutes and pays tribute to Jim Lehrer’s indelible contributions to the field of journalism and beyond.