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SPJ to roast “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer


CONTACTS:Robert Leger, SPJ President-elect, 417-836-1113 or rleger@springfi.gannett.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bob Schieffer, who every Sunday morning grills senators, congressmen and cabinet secretaries, will find his friends lighting the matches at the Society of Professional Journalists’ National Convention.

Schieffer will be the subject of a roast to raise money for the Society’s Legal Defense Fund at the convention Sept. 12-14 in his hometown, Fort Worth.

The “Face the Nation” host worked in radio, newspaper and television in Fort Worth before making the jump to CBS News. He has covered Washington for 35 years, assigned to the White House, Pentagon, State Department and Capitol Hill beats. For 20 years, he anchored the Saturday edition of the CBS Evening News. He has hosted “Face the Nation” since 1991.

Schieffer also notes that the three men who had the biggest impact on his career -- former Fort Worth Star-Telegram editor Phil Record, Texas broadcaster James A. Bryon and CBS’s Bill Small -- were all national SPJ presidents

It’s a career that provides plenty of fuel for his roasters. NBC nightly news anchor Tom Brokaw will take his swipes via video, and Sports Illustrated writer Dan Jenkins will skewer his longtime friend with the written word. Record, who hired Schieffer at the Star-Telegram, and Roy Eaton, who hired him at radio station KXOL, will join in the roasting.

"Many years ago, when I was a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Bob was reporting for KXOL, we would dream wonderful dreams during lulls in the dingy press room at the police station,” Record says. “Bob was determined that one day he would be a big shot on a TV network. Well, today he is a big shot, thanks to his determination. But it is time to take the big shot down a notch or two. We will definitely do so at the SPJ roast."

Schieffer is prepared. “I've been waiting to get even with this bunch for years. They better be ready!” he says.

The Legal Defense Fund, unique among journalism groups, initiates and supports litigation that enforces public access to government records and proceedings. It is one more way the Society supports the First Amendment and freedom of information.

Other highlights of the convention include keynote speeches by Washington Post executive editor Len Downie and associate editor Robert Kaiser, Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger, crime writer Vanessa Leggett, New York Daily News photographer David Handschuh and civic journalism advocate Jan Schaffer.

Online registration for the convention is available at www.spj.org. The deadline for the pre-registration rate is Aug. 19. Separate tickets for the roast also are available at $25 each.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, and based in Indianapolis, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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