University of Pittsburgh
February 13, 2008

2008 Political Pundits on the Campaign Trail to Make a Pitt Stop

Nationally acclaimed journalists covering the presidential primaries will take part in a Feb. 21 panel discussion to share their insight about the campaigns
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-"2008 Political Pundits: On The Bus and on The Beat"-a panel discussion sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Honors College and the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" and featuring five nationally acclaimed journalists covering the presidential primaries-will be held at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 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 this free public event must RSVP at, by phone at 412-624-6880, or via fax at 412-624-6885, providing name, phone number, and the names of any additional attendees. Pitt Honors College students will register everyone at the door.

Johnson, the primary author of "Beacon Hill," a weekly analysis of political developments in and around the Massachusetts Capitol, has been a member of the AP's national political team since last fall.

In 1994, he joined the AP in Boston and transferred to the AP's Washington bureau, and in the fall of 1999, he was assigned to cover the presidential campaign of George W. Bush. He joined the Washington bureau of the "Boston Globe" in July 2000, covering the conclusion of the presidential campaign, as well as the Bush-Gore Florida recount.

In January 2001, Johnson was named Massachusetts' congressional delegation reporter for the "Globe," where he covered John Kerry's presidential campaign from its infancy.

Johnson 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. She chronicled life in Chinese villages and cities since the death of Deng Xiaoping; tracked high-seas pirates in the Philippines; entered mineshafts with Bolivian child laborers; met drug growers in Colombian jungles; and hiked for days to profile Maoist rebels in Nepal and the last-known shamans in southwest China. She covered war and peace in Afghanistan, Bosnia, East Timor, and Kashmir.

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.

O'Toole has been the lead writer in the paper's current presidential campaign coverage and has reported on all of the major candidates in the states' primary contests.

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. He was the paper's managing editor for five years before that. This year's New Hampshire presidential primary was the eighth in which he either supervised or participated in the "Monitor's" coverage. In 2004, he cotaught a course on presidential politics at Gettysburg College.

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.

Pride is the coauthor of "My Brave Boys" (University Press of New England, 2001), a Civil War history; and "Too Dead to Die" (Plaidswede, 2006), a book on the Bataan Death March. He is the coeditor of "The New Hampshire Century" (University Press of New England, 2001), a book of profiles of prominent 20th-century New Hampshire figures.

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.