Natalie Jacobson 2008 Donald Murray Visiting Journalist
By Lori Wright, Media Relations
March 12, 2008
For 35 years, New England got its news from Natalie Jacobson. Now the longtime
Boston TV anchor and UNH alumna returns to campus as the 2008 Donald Murray
Jacobson will be on campus for the week of March 24. On Tuesday, March 25,
she will give a free public talk in which she will reflect on her 35 years
covering the news for WCVB Channel 5 in Boston. The talk begins at 5 p.m. in
the MUB, Theater II.
Sponsored by the journalism program, the Donald Murray Visiting Journalist
Program brings accomplished alumni journalists to campus each year for week-long
residencies during which they conduct classes, work with students and student
media, and give a public lecture.
Jacobson, ’65, was the first female news anchor in Boston, a position
she retired from in 2007. During her visit to UNH, she will discuss how she
saw local television news change during her anchor years, and what she envisions
for its future.
According to Jacobson, television news found its calling during the 1970s.
“There were no rules, only ideas to be turned into programs. There were
no boundaries beyond honesty and fairness. There was no issue too big to cover.
Political correctness had yet to be born. We were in lockstep with our viewers,
whom we saw as fellow citizens,” she says. “We were partners in
the most difficult of stories, such as busing and Vietnam, as well as historic
moments -- when we were live for eight hours covering Queen Elizabeth’s
royal visit to Boston, or when the blizzard of ’78 shut down the city
for a week. We were the epicenter of information, the glue that held everyone
Jacobson recalls how her managers supported her when she secured an exclusive
interview in which Joan Kennedy discussed her problems with alcohol and her
marriage to Ted Kennedy, who at the time was running for president. The station
aired the full 23-minute interview, and Jacobson wonders whether something
like that would happen today.
“Do the bean counters allow good reporting today?” she wonders. “Are
reporters lazy? Is local news relevant? Do we cover candidates and campaigns
or just the rhetoric? Are we living up to our responsibility as the fourth
estate? Are we serving our country?”
The Donald Murray Visiting Journalist Program is named in honor of Donald
Murray, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who started the UNH journalism program
in 1963. Terry Williams ’80, publisher of The Telegraph of Nashua, led
the fundraising drive for the program, with primary support coming from The
McLean Contributionship and from UNH journalism alumni.
For more information about the event, contact Jane Harrigan, professor and
director of program, at 2-3968 or firstname.lastname@example.org.