Neal Shapiro

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Neal Shapiro
Born (1958-03-09) March 9, 1958 (age 60)
Alma materTufts University
OccupationMedia executive
Years active1980 to present
TitleCEO and president
Spouse(s)Juju Chang
AwardsWinner of 32 Emmys, 31 Edward R. Murrow Awards, and 3 Columbia DuPont awards
WebsiteWNET Biography

Neal B. Shapiro (born March 9, 1958)[1] is the President and CEO of WNET. He worked previously as the President of NBC News and the executive producer for Dateline NBC. Prior to this Shapiro spent 13 years as a news producer at ABC News.

Early life[edit]

Shapiro was born to a practicing Jewish family[2][3][4] and raised in Delmar, New York. He attended Bethlehem Central High School graduating in 1976. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Tufts University in 1980, with degrees in history and political science.[5][6]

Career with ABC[edit]

Shapiro worked with ABC News from 1980 until 1993, where he eventually became a producer for PrimeTime Live.[7][8] He also produced for Nightline and spent time working in the Chicago news bureau.[9]

Career with NBC[edit]

Executive Producer of Dateline NBC[edit]

In 1993 he was named the executive producer of Dateline NBC, and worked to address the aftermath of a series of dismissals at NBC regarding a fake news story produced by the show.[10] According to his alma mater, "Shapiro oversaw the production of several major breaking-news stories, such as the Oklahoma City bombing, the death of Princess Diana, the Columbine tragedy, the war in Kosovo, and the Clinton impeachment trial when he worked as the executive producer of the Emmy Award winning Dateline. He also served as the executive producer for several hour-long specials, including reports on corporate layoffs in America, migrant farm workers, and welfare reform."[9]

In 1998 Shapiro took the show from one night to five nights per week, producing about 800 news stories per year. Upon the expansion of the program, Shapiro stated that the news magazines of each of the major American networks had each pushed the genre, and helped Dateline become a nightly primetime program.[11] That year the New York Times said that, "Under Mr. Shapiro's guiding hand -- and not always to the delight of media critics -- Dateline has rewritten the rules of the news magazine show."[12] In a later article, the New York Times said of Shapiro's time at Dateline that he "presided over the expansion of that show to multiple nights, a trend that was later followed by newsmagazines at both ABC and CBS. Under Mr. Shapiro, "Dateline" won 25 Emmy Awards 19 Edward R. Murrow Awards and three Columbia-DuPont awards".[13]

President of NBC News[edit]

Shapiro was appointed the president of NBC News in June 2001, and was also put in charge of overseeing MSNBC.[9] He also oversaw the transition between news anchors on NBC Nightly News between Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams.[14] In 2003 he was the architect of the NBC news coverage of the Iraq War.[15]

TV News Check summarized some additional projects that Shapiro undertook, writing that, "He led the No. 1-rated news programs in every day part: Today in the morning, NBC Nightly News in the evening and Meet the Press on Sunday morning ... On cable, Shapiro oversaw the news operations of MSNBC and developed Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Scarborough Country with Joe Scarborough. He also created NBC News Productions which produces programming for many cable channels, including A&E, Bravo, Court TV, Discovery, History, and Lifetime. In the world of syndication, he developed two successful syndicated programs produced by NBC News, The Chris Matthews Show and Your Total Health with Hoda Kotb. On the Web, Shapiro spearheaded a number of changes at MSNBC. He expanded NBC News Radio, and began podcasts and cell phone reports. He also helped create and launch NBC's digital weather channel, Weatherplus."[16] In all Shapiro won 32 Emmys, 31 Edward R. Murrow Awards, and 3 Columbia DuPont awards during his time at NBC (including those awarded during his time at Dateline).[17]

Career with WNET[edit]

In January 2008 Shapiro was named CEO of WNET public television. According to Forbes magazine, one of his first moves was to start the programs "Sunday Arts, which features the great museum exhibits, films, galleries and performances going on in New York City, and ... Reel 13, which air[ed] on Saturday nights and pair[ed] a classic movie with an indie film and a short film created by [their] viewers".[18][19]

Shapiro created the news program Worldfocus as a public television owned news broadcast in lieu of the prior practice of airing foreign news programs on American public television, saying that, "it’s good for public television to have a show that belongs to public television ... Are we taking a chance? Absolutely; that’s what innovation is about." The show ran from 2009 to 2010, receiving internal financing as well as funding from The Peter G. Peterson Foundation.[20][21] He also oversaw the sale of the public television news coverage paper Current, a public media-focused trade publication, to the American University School of Communication, saying, according to the New York Times that "he found it odd for his organization to publish a paper" about its own industry.[22] In 2011 Shapiro led the bid to manage New Jersey’s public television station that was then renamed NJTV, which brought New Jersey public television under the same umbrella.[18]

Other programs Shapiro commissioned include New York War Stories, New York Goes to War, Need to Know, and A Cry for Help: A Generation at Risk?, in addition to the expansion of the network's classic movie slots to include more recent independent pictures that appeal to a younger audience.[23]

Other positions and recognition[edit]

Shapiro has taught at both the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and his alma mater, Tufts University. He has also lectured at schools including MIT and Stanford.[24] In 2002 he was awarded the Light on the Hill award by Tufts, and spoke on his method of reporting the news following 9/11.[9] In 2008, Shapiro received the P.T. Barnum Award from Tufts for his exceptional work in the field of media and entertainment.[25] He has also been the recipient of Sigma Delta Chi Awards, Chris Awards, the George Polk Award, and the Investigative Reporter and Editor Award.[26]

In 2007 Shapiro was elected to the Board of Directors of the Gannett Company for his "diverse experience with network news and public television" according to chairman Craig A. Dubow.[27] On October 6, 2008, Shapiro was chosen to ring the closing bell of the NASDAQ exchange in New York City.[28] He has also served as chairman of the Communications and Media Studies Alumni Advisory Board for his alma mater Tufts University.[9]

Personal life[edit]

In 1995, he married ABC News correspondent Juju Chang.[29][6] Chang converted to Judaism.[30] They have three sons: Jared (b. 2000), Travis (b. 2003), and Mason (b. 2007).[31]


  1. ^ "Biography: Neal Shapiro", Cityfile, New York
  2. ^ JInsider: "November Top Jew Neal Shapiro Shalom TV (Jewish Journey)" retrieved September 25, 2012
  3. ^ Shamir, Israel (June 8, 2005). Our Lady of Sorrow: The Collected Essays from the Holy Land. BookSurge Publishing. pp. 250–251. ISBN 9781419608353.
  4. ^ Eshman, Rob (July 28, 2005). "Goldberg's List". Jewish Journal.
  5. ^ "About WNET - Officers: Neal Shapiro". WNET New York Public Media. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b New York Times: "WEDDINGS;Neal Shapiro and Juju Chang" December 03, 1995
  7. ^ "Urban anthology has stunning debut". The Atlanta Constitution. March 23, 1993. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  8. ^ DUSTY SAUNDERS (March 23, 1993). "THREE NBC PRODUCERS LOSE JOBS OVER STAGED TRUCK-CRASH FIASCO". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d e Nicolas Ferre (April 1, 2002). "Neal Shapiro to accept Light on the Hill today". Tufts Daily. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  10. ^ "Airline coupons are part of settlement". The Washington Times. March 23, 1993. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  11. ^ Terence Smith (January 13, 1999). "Neal Shapiro". PBS. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  12. ^ Bill Carter (June 8, 1998). "The Man Reshaping Prime Time; Television News Magazines Keep Spreading. Here's Why". New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  13. ^ "NBC News Appointment". New York Times. May 11, 2001. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  14. ^ Peter Johnson (June 6, 2005). "NBC News president Neal Shapiro announces his resignation". USA Today. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  15. ^ David Lieberman (March 24, 2003). "NBC hopes big investment in news coverage pays off". USA Today. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  16. ^ "Ex-NBC News chief Neal Shapiro to head WNET New York". TV News Check. January 18, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  17. ^ "Neal Shapiro". October 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  18. ^ a b "The Power of a Consistent Message Illustrated by WNET's CEO, Neal Shapiro". Forbes. August 24, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  19. ^ ELIZABETH JENSEN (January 30, 2008). "A Year Into Job, WNET President Seeks a Heightened Urgency". New York Times. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  20. ^ ELIZABETH JENSEN (February 4, 2009). "WNET News Program Gains a Foothold but Draws Internal Complaints". New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  21. ^ "WNET Cancels Newscast". TV Technology. March 3, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  22. ^ ELIZABETH JENSEN (December 13, 2010). "Public Broadcaster Is to Sell Current, a Trade Publication". New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  23. ^ Joanne Kaufman (October 15, 2008). "A Big-Three Network Veteran Shakes Up a PBS Stronghold". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  24. ^ "Neal B. Shapiro". March 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  25. ^ "Alumni Awards". Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  26. ^ "Neal Shapiro". Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  27. ^ "News: Former NBC News President Joins Gannett Board". WKYC. October 25, 2007. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  28. ^ "Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of New York public media company WNET.ORG, Rings the NASDAQ Closing Bell". NASDAQ. October 6, 2008. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  29. ^ "Juju Chang's Biography", ABC News, Dec. 10, 2009
  30. ^ Robert Finn (October 29, 2010). "Family First, Baseball a Close Second". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  31. ^ New York Times: Family First, Baseball a Close Second" by Robert Finn October 29, 2010

External links[edit]