Panel to Feature Five National Reporters Covering the Primaries

Issue Date: 
February 18, 2008

The University of Pittsburgh Honors College and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will sponsor a panel discussion, “2008 Political Pundits: On The Bus and on The Beat,” on Feb. 21.

The discussion, featuring five nationally acclaimed journalist covering the presidential primaries, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of The Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland.

Featured panelists are Glen Johnson, Massachusetts State House bureau chief for the Associated Press (AP); Indira Lakshmanan, national political reporter for Bloomberg News; James O’Toole, politics editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Mike Pride, editor of the Concord (N.H.) Monitor; and Maeve Reston, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, will moderate.

Those interested in attending the free public event must RSVP by e-mail, by phone 412-624-6880, or via fax at 412-624-6885, providing name, phone number, and the names of any additional attendees.

Johnson, the primary author of “Beacon Hill,” a weekly analysis of political developments in and around Boston, has been a member of AP’s national political team since last fall.

Johnson covered George W. Bush’s presidential campaign for the AP in 1999 and John Kerry’s presidential campaign for the Boston Globe in 2004.

He rejoined the AP in March 2005, initially as a Washington reporter covering the Social Security debate. In August 2005, he returned to Boston and was named Massachusetts State House bureau chief. He was assigned to cover the Mitt Romney presidential campaign and assists with coverage of the GOP race.

Lakshmanan has been writing news and features on the campaign trail and from Washington, D.C., since last December.

Previously, she was a foreign correspondent for the Boston Globe on three continents over a span of 12 years.

A native of Pittsburgh, Lakshmanan is a graduate of Allderdice High School and Harvard University. She was awarded a Rotary fellowship for graduate work at Oxford University, and in 2003 was a Nieman journalism fellow at Harvard.

O’Toole, also a Pittsburgh native, has covered politics and government for the Post-Gazette for more than 25 years—because he doesn’t know how to do anything else, he says.

Over that time, he’s been assigned to the Allegheny County beat, served as the paper’s state government correspondent in Harrisburg, and covered Congress and national issues as the Post-Gazette’s Washington correspondent. He’s also worked on such national stories as the aftermath of the crash of United Flight 93, on Sept. 11, 2001.

He has covered every presidential election and nominating convention since 1984 (with the exception of the 1992 campaign, when the paper was on strike).

Pride has been editor of the Concord Monitor, New Hampshire’s capital city newspaper, since 1983. This year’s New Hampshire presidential primary was the eighth in which he either supervised or participated in the Monitor’s coverage.

Pride is in his ninth year on the board of the Pulitzer Prizes, which he cochairs. He is a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and received the National Press Foundation’s Editor of the Year award in 1987 for directing his paper’s coverage of the Challenger disaster.

Reston is a native of Washington, D.C., who began her reporting career in Texas after graduating from Cornell University in 1999 with a degree in English literature.

During a two-year stint at the Austin American-Statesman, she covered suburban politics, education, and the Texas state house. Reston joined the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2003 to cover the 2004 presidential campaign—initially from New Hampshire. At the conclusion of the campaign, Reston moved to Washington to cover Congress for the Post-Gazette. She became a reporter on the Metro desk of the Los Angeles Times in the summer of 2006 and is on temporary assignment for the paper’s national desk, covering the 2008 presidential campaign.

Shribman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism in 1995 for his coverage of Washington and the American political scene. Before coming to Pittsburgh, he was the Washington, D.C., bureau chief of the Boston Globe. He also worked in various positions for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Star, and The Buffalo News. His column, “National Perspective,” is syndicated to more than 50 papers nationally, and he is a contributing editor for Fortune magazine.