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Lehrer Preps Citizenship Special for PBS

Jim Lehrer is gathering a group of cultural, political and social leaders in Williamsburg, Va., for a conversation, tabbed "Dialogues in Democracy: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," on what it means to be an American citizen in the 21st century.

MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation are bringing together a group of 50 people, from musician Branford Marsalis and Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood and Indianapolis 500 driver Janet Guthrie.

The conversations are being held in the the Hall of the House of Burgesses at the Williamsburg Capitol building, where the country's founders helped to draft its first delcaration of rights, freedoms, and responsibilities.

In addition to the Williamsburg event, various local public TV stations have been holding their own associated conversations on citizenship on local issues including healthcare, education, immigration and the environment

In addition to Lehrer, moderators for the Williamsburg conversations will include NewsHour correspondents Elizabeth Brackett, Elizabeth Farnsworth, Paul Solman and Ray Suarez.

The product of the three-day convocation will be distilled into a PBS TV special planned for early January, according to a MacNeil/Lehrer spokeswoman.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.