class=""MsoNormal"">SALISBURY, MD---What is the true language of America? Acclaimed journalist Robert MacNeil asks that question as he inaugurates Salisbury University’s Year of Languages Fall Cultural Series 7 p.m. Thursday, September 22, in Holloway Hall Auditorium. The series is part of SU’s 80th anniversary celebration.
class=""MsoNormal"">With a journalism career spanning more than four decades, MacNeil joined PBS in 1971. A collaboration with fellow reporter Jim Lehrer during gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Watergate hearings led to their partnership for The MacNeil/Lehrer Review, which, in 1983, became the nation’s first hour-long evening news program.
class=""MsoNormal"">As a journalist, MacNeil traveled the country and heard many dialects and local colloquialisms. In 1986, he hosted the nine-part PBS series The Story of English, traveling the world to illustrate the influence of the language around the globe.
class=""MsoNormal"">In 2004, he hosted the award-winning documentary Do You Speak American?, which further examined the influence of American English in the United States with travels through Maine, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Ohio, South Carolina and Detroit. SU screens the three-part documentary 7 p.m. Mondays from September 26-October 10 and November 21-December 5 in Caruthers Hall Auditorium.
class=""MsoNormal"">With author William Cran, MacNeil penned companion books for both series, widely hailed by critics. Publishers Weekly calls Do You Speak American? “an exhilarating celebration of the ways that Americans express themselves and a testament to the indestructible power of language.” Booklist calls the work a “colorful, witty, and insightful commentary on American speech.”
class=""MsoNormal"">MacNeil’s other works include The Right Place at the Right Time, his autobiography in which he recounts such history-making moments as unknowingly speaking with presumed John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald as Oswald fled the scene of the president’s murder. In the book, he also remembers his role in some of the more turbulent political times of the 1960s and ‘70s, reporting on civil rights for NBC and the Watergate scandal for PBS.
class=""MsoNormal"">From 1966-1971, MacNeil served as a correspondent for the BBC, covering events including the resignation of French President Charles De Gaulle, violence at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. He returned to American television in 1973 as host of PBS’ Washington Week in Review. With Lehrer, he has won some 30 major awards, including the Emmy and Peabody.
class=""MsoNormal"">The Year of Languages Fall Cultural Series at SU supports the national Year of Languages in 2005, designated by the U.S. Congress to highlight the importance of language learning and cultural understanding. All events, including MacNeil’s talk and film screenings, are free and the public is invited. For information call 410-543-6271 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu. "