August 18, 2009

Nationally Known Journalist Bill Kurtis to Appear at RSU Sept. 25

Bill Kurtis campus appearances, September 25, 2009Nationally recognized journalist Bill Kurtis – former CBS news anchor who is most recently known for hosting the A&E Network series "Cold Case Files" and "American Justice" – will give a public presentation on his career in journalism and the media on Friday, Sept. 25, at Rogers State University.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ballroom of the new Centennial Center on the RSU campus in Claremore. His appearance is sponsored by RSU Public Television.

Kurtis also will make several appearances during the day for students and faculty on the RSU campus. In addition, he will be taping a segment of the "Perspectives" series with Sam Jones at RSU Public Television and attending events at the Will Rogers Memorial and Museum in Claremore.

An acclaimed documentary host and producer, network and major market news anchor, and multimedia production company president, Kurtis is celebrating his 40th anniversary in broadcasting.

Kurtis provided the narration for a recent documentary program on the history of RSU, titled "Rogers State University: The First 100 Years," produced by RSU Public Television.

Born in Florida and raised in Independence, Kan., Kurtis graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor degree in journalism. He also earned a law degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kan.

Kurtis began his television career at WIBW-TV (CBS) in Topeka. In 1966, after being recognized for his 24-hour coverage of a devastating tornado, Kurtis was hired by WBBM-TV in Chicago where he was a field reporter and later news anchor.

He moved on to the network level at CBS where he anchored the "CBS Morning News" and contributed to "CBS Reports." During his career, he covered major stories such as the Richard Speck murders and the Charles Manson trial. He also is credited with breaking the Agent Orange story and the story of Asian-American children in Vietnam.

Returning to Chicago and WBBM-TV as news anchor in 1985, Kurtis began his career as a documentarian, traveling to the far ends of the earth for the Peabody Award-winning series "The New Explorers," which aired on A&E.

In 1990, he founded Kurtis Productions and began producing programs for A&E, including the long-running, award-winning "Investigative Reports" and "Cold Case Files," as well as "Investigating History" for The History Channel. Kurtis has also served as the host of A&E's "American Justice" – the longest running non-fiction justice series on television.

"Cold Case Files" was nominated for 2004 and 2005 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Nonfiction Series.

Kurtis also provides satirical narration for the feature film "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," starring Will Ferrell, and has provided spoken word elements to the recent Dandy Warhols album released by Capitol Records. More recently, Kurtis parodied himself in a series of popular commercials for AT&T touting the speed of his internet connect card.

Kurtis also is author of the book "The Death Penalty on Trial: Crisis in American Justice." The book explores issues surrounding capital punishment in America. By profiling two murder cases, Kurtis reveals his change of mind regarding capital punishment.

In his most recent book, "The Prairie Table Cookbook," Kurtis traces the history of food in the American West with a particular emphasis on grass fed beef. The book combines recipes, history and travel with photography. The book also highlights his new passion, the Tallgrass Beef Company, which produces grass-fed beef without hormones, sub-therapeutic antibiotics, grain or animal by-products.

In his home state of Kansas, Kurtis is a rancher, radio station owner, art gallery owner, small businessman and conservationist. His 10,000-acre Red Buffalo Ranch is a working cattle ranch, raising and marketing organic grass-fed beef.

The Red Buffalo Ranch borders the small town of Sedan, Kan., where Kurtis has worked closely with residents to renovate and restore the town's historic Main Street. Nearby, in his hometown of Independence, Kurtis and local investors own KIND Radio, the station that gave him his first broadcasting job.

Kurtis is the recipient of numerous humanitarian, journalism and broadcasting awards including Emmys, Cable ACE Awards, and the Thurgood Marshall Award for his "Investigative Reports" installment on the death penalty. He is a member of the board of directors of several organizations including The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Foundation and the Field Museum of Chicago.

For more information about his RSU appearance, call RSU Public Television at (918) 343-7657.