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Ernest Stern Leiser Edit Profile


Ernest Stern Leiser, American journalist. Decorated Bronze Star, Croix de Guerre; recipient Sigma Delta Chi award for television reporting, 1956, Peabody awards for television reporting and producing, 1956, 77, Ohio State awards, 1969, 77, National Academy television Arts and Sciences award, 1968-1971. Served with Army of the United States, 1942-1946.


Leiser, Ernest Stern was born on February 26, 1921 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of Monroe Felsenthal and Gertrude (Stern) Leiser.


AB, University of Chicago, 1941.


He was recognized with Emmy and Peabody awards for coverage of post-war Europe, civil rights, and Vietnam. He was in charge of transitioning CBS News from radio to primarily television. After getting his degree from the University of Chicago, he worked for Chicago news bureaus and papers.

During World War II, he reported for the "Stars and Stripes" and was one of the first reporters to reach Berlin. He was also worked in military intelligence. After the war, he worked in Frankfurt for the Overseas News Bureau.

In 1948, he covered the Berlin Airlift. He joined CBS News in 1953. He was recognized with a Peabody award for his coverage and courage for taking risk of "life and limb" during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

He was the first to get film out of the country. He was a central figure in the radio-to-TV transition for CBS News and the newscast he produced was the first to expand from 15 to 30 minutes, allowing the news to be more than a headline service. He was an important part of CBS's coverage of the space program, political campaigns, conventions, and elections of national significance, civil rights and VietnamDuring the time Leiser was executive producer of the Evening News, it went from trailing NBC's Huntley-Brinkley newscast to first place. coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.(1968) and its aftermath"The World of Charlie Company (1970)" After the Tet offensive in Vietnam, Leiser and Walter Cronkite went to Vietnam and were invited to dine with General Creighton Abrams, the commander of all forces in Vietnam who Cronkite knew from World War II. He also was instrumental in Dan Rather being hired and developed as a CBS reporter.

When Harry Reasoner left CBS for ABC, Leiser joined him as his executive producer. He returned to CBS in 1975. He became Vice President at CBS News.

In 1986 and later, he wrote that the TV news business had gone from being part of the public service required of a network to being looked at as a place to cut costs. He decried the thinning out of the reporting ranks, the closing down of foreign bureaus, and the lack of prime-time documentaries. He also taught journalism as a senior fellow at the Gannett Institute at Columbia.

DeathHe died November 26, 2002 at his home in South Nyack, NY. At the time, Dan Rather said,a thorough scholar, an integrity-filled journalist and visionary leader of other journalists. He repeatedly proved he was one of the bravest and best American journalists in history—and one of the few who proved it in print, radio and television.".


  • For his service, he was decorated with the US Army's Bronze Star and the French Croix de Guerre. His coverage resulted in him sharing a Peabody Award for CBS. He also won Emmy Awards in three consecutive years (1969–1971) for Abrams told Cronkite, "we cannot win this Goddamned war, and we ought to find a dignified way out." Leiser wrote the speech that Cronkite delivered over the air that caused President Lyndon B. Johnson to say, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America." Johnson soon declined to run for re-election. His coverage of the 200th anniversary of America for 141⁄2 hours on July 4, 1976 (In Celebration of US (CBS),1976) won the network the Peabody Award.

    His coverage of the 1980 presidential campaign was awarded the Alfred I. DuPont award by Columbia University.


Served with Army of the United States, 1942-1946.


Married Caroline Thomas Camp, October 26, 1946. Children: Nancy, Shelley, Nicholas.

Monroe Felsenthal Leiser

Gertrude (Stern) Leiser

Caroline Thomas Camp

Nancy Leiser

Shelley Leiser

Nicholas Leiser