PBS Co-anchor Jeffrey Brown delivers 2016 Elder Lecture
The senior correspondent for NewsHour discussed topics ranging from journalism to poetry and the humanities in news and life.
Reporting by: Mollie Richter, Alex Hager and Alanna Sadler
Jeffrey Brown, co-anchor and senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, delivered the annual James P. Elder Lecture on April 5.
Brown, whose career with NewsHour spans more than 20 years, has interviewed lawmakers, profiled many of the world’s leading creative thought-leaders, and helped shaped the program’s coverage on national affairs. In his talk, Brown focused on the storytelling in reporting, addressing the importance of literature, poetry and the humanities in news and life.
“The discussions of the role of literature in our lives and in our societies can feel very abstract at times,” Brown said. “Don’t forget the things that make your own life richer, make our public more aware and more engaged, and the things that make our democracy and country richer.”
Brown also emphasized the importance of telling the human side of stories in covering arts and politics. Reflecting on his own experience in covering stories in Haiti, he noted that he chose to focus on the nation’s people and artists, while stories from other journalists focused on disaster and disease.
“My main advice is to broaden your sense of what the news is… study other things – science, the humanities,” he advises. “Because those are the things that are going to open your eyes to the world and make you a better journalist.”
Brown, who has garnered one Emmy Award and six Cine Golden Eagle Awards, among other honors, has recently released a book of poetry about his experiences. For more information on Brown and his work, visit http://www.pbs.org/newshour/.
The James P. Elder Lecture is Elon University's only endowed lecture series devoted to the exploration of critical scholarship and its impact on the public forum. When Elder served on the history faculty of Elon (1963-1973), he was advisor to the Liberal Arts Forum, which he founded as an undergraduate. During that period, the Forum brought to campus more than 150 distinguished lecturers from major universities in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and sponsored numerous symposia, concerts, art exhibitions and film series and the publication of two lecture series. He was instrumental in founding Elon’s signature study abroad program and was five times voted by the student body as “Outstanding Professor.” In 1983 Elder was named Alumnus of the Year. Thirty years after he left Elon for the Folger Library in Washington, D.C., a group of Forum alumni established an endowed lectureship in Dr. Elder’s honor. More than 150 former students and friends have contributed to the Elder Lectureship in tribute to Elder’s example of faculty-student engagement.