About Margie Lehrman

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Margaret (Margie) McBride Lehrman, UO ’66 (English) is an Emmy Award-winning producer who retired in 2009 after 30 years at NBC News in Washington, D.C.

Her career includes 10 years at the “Today” show, six years as deputy bureau chief to Tim Russert, and travels to nearly 40 countries to cover U.S. presidents. As a UO Foundation Trustee, she funded a graduate fellowship for students in financial need.

During her career with NBC, she got to ride elephants in Nepal, visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, and cover the ceremonies at Normandy for both the 50th and 60th anniversaries of D-Day.

Margie received numerous awards including two national news Emmys, one for coverage of the death and funeral of Ronald Reagan, and one for coverage of Election Night 2008. She also received the National Press Club’s Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Reporting, for broadcasts from China.

She attended the Reagan-Gorbachev summits in Geneva and Reykjavik and economic summits in Tokyo and Venice, as well as presidential nominating conventions, elections and inaugurations.

Margie started at NBC as a researcher for the “Today” show, arriving just in time for the Iran hostage crisis, the first visit by a Chinese leader since normalization, the shooting of Ronald Reagan, and the assassination of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat.

Within five years, she was managing “Today’s” Washington team, sometimes working 36-hour days. During her 10 years at “Today,” Margie saw about 9,000 of her ideas appear on the broadcast, and she worked as a producer with correspondents including Tom Brokaw, Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley, Chris Wallace, Judy Woodruff, and Andrea Mitchell.

During that time, the president of NBC News appointed Margie to head a yearlong project guided by McKinsey & Company to reduce the News division’s costs by $20 million a year.

When Tim Russert became Washington bureau chief, he picked Margie to be his number two (deputy bureau chief). She worked as chief operating officer of the network’s largest newsgathering operation, with more than 200 staff members, for more than six years.

During that time, Margie coordinated Washington’s ’round-the-clock coverage of Operation Desert Storm and, working with the Pentagon on behalf of all the American TV networks, secretly launched crews and correspondents to cover the military invasion of Panama and the landing of troops in Haiti. Margie also took notice of a young local reporter who she thought was “electric” on TV. Margie checked her out and encouraged Tim Russert to hire as #2 at the Pentagon—Katie Couric.

When Margie asked to go back to hands-on reporting, Tim gave her the job of senior producer for special coverage and events. In that role, she was the bureau’s point person for breaking news (such as 9/11) and major occasions (inaugurations, state funerals, and elections). She also traveled to nearly 40 countries to set up logistics and coverage of presidential trips, working as the “pool producer” on behalf of all five U.S. television networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NBC).

At NBC News, Margie also was a charter member of the Task Force on Women and Minorities, and a diversity trainer for two years.

For the past five years, Margie has served on the Alumni Board of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she has chaired the programs committee and the development committee, served as vice chair of the board. She also spent 10 years (1990-2000) as a trustee of the University of Oregon Foundation. She is active in the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, the International Women’s Media Foundation, and the World Affairs Council.

Margie grew up in the Pacific Northwest and still has family in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon (B.A. in English), she spent three years on Peace Corps staff at headquarters in Washington, DC. She then obtained an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, and spent several years earning her journalism spurs as a print and radio reporter. She also worked four years on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Senate Minority Whip before joining NBC News. Her work was published in scores of newspapers and magazines.

For more than 43 years, Margie has been married to Michael Lehrman, who has degrees from Cornell and Harvard, is a former military pilot and aviation executive, and holds twenty-four patents in medical technology.

Together, they’ve flown the North Atlantic in a twin-engine plane (before Margie got her pilot’s license). They ski, and they were co-owners of the first hot-air balloon in the Washington, D.C. area. For more than 20 years, they “parented,” and provided free room and board, to financially needy students, each of whom lived with them from two to five years.

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