October 7 2008
Kurtis has earned the respect of viewers, colleagues and competitors in television journalism for more than 30 years. Since 1992, Kurtis has been the anchor of A&E's highest rated weekly series, "American Justice." He is also the executive producer of "Cold Case Files," the original forensic series which began in 1998 as a sub-strand of the Emmy Award-winning "Investigative Reports" (of which Kurtis was the anchor and executive producer for more than a decade).
In the mid-1960s, Kurtis faced an important choice between two career paths-television or law. Television held the promise of the future and Kurtis headed directly for Chicago. By 1973, he had teamed up with Walter Jacobson at CBS affiliate WBBM-TV and during the next nine years, they made Chicago television history.
By 1982, CBS Network News beckoned, asking Kurtis to anchor the CBS Morning News from New York, where he also completed a series of hour-long documentaries for "CBS Reports."
In 1985, he returned to Chicago with a new dream -- to expand the traditional long-form journalism reports into new areas. He founded Kurtis Productions in 1990 and joined A&E in 1991.
As anchor of American Justice, Kurtis examines the issues facing the system today-from the death penalty, to drug sentencing, to false confessions, to racial inequities-through cases that have worked their way through the American legal system.
As executive producer and anchor of Investigative Reports, Kurtis received the Thurgood Marshall Journalism Award for his production on "Death Penalty on Trial." In this Emmy-winning series, he presented such programs as five-part "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" and the two-hour "Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution."
A native of Independence, Kansas, he graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Journalism in 1962. In 1966, he received a law degree from Washburn University School of Law and passed the Kansas Bar that year. He serves on the Boards of Directors of the National Park Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and the Kansas State Historical Society, as well as numerous other private and civic institutions, with an emphasis on those involving natural history and the environment.
In his home state, he is a rancher, radio station owner, art gallery owner, small businessman, supporter of small town America and an active conservationist. His 10,000-acre Red Buffalo Ranch is a working cattle ranch, raising and marketing organic grass-fed beef.
Kurtis is the author of several books, including "Bill Kurtis on Assignment," "The Death Penalty on Trial: Crisis in American Justice" and "The Prairie Table Cookbook."
Contact: Linda Crossett, University Speaker Series, 812.237.8479
Mark Edwards, Marketing & Communications, 812.237.8512
Media Contact and Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812.237.3783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Veteran broadcast journalist Bill Kurtis will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 in Indiana State University's Tilson Auditorium. A book signing and reception in Heritage Lounge is planned immediately following his talk. The presentation and reception are free and open to the public.