Skip Navigation

The Kalb Report:

The American Story: A Master Class with David McCullough

Presidential Medal of Freedom Honoree Discusses Our Founding Fathers, Freedom of the Press and America’s Future with Journalist Marvin Kalb

From his Pulitzer-prize winning biographies John Adams and Truman, to his distinctive narration of Ken Burns’ seminal documentaries “The Civil War” and “Baseball,” David McCullough is perhaps America’s most recognized storyteller.

On this special daytime edition of The Kalb Report, moderator Marvin Kalb and McCullough, the renowned author and historian, discuss our founding fathers (and mothers), freedom of the press and the challenges facing our democracy today.

The Kalb Report will take place on Thursday, May 12, at 11 a.m. EDT, at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, in Washington, D.C.

"When I grow up, I want to be like David McCullough, a journalist turned into one of the finest American historians of our time,” said Kalb. “I can't wait to discuss the origins of a free press in America. And much else."

Often called a “master of the art of narrative history,” McCullough became enthralled with the American story as a child and began his writing career by authoring critically acclaimed books on the Johnstown Flood, Great Chicago Fire and the San Francisco earthquake.

McCullough has received numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award that a U.S. citizen can receive, his two Pulitzer Prizes, and the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

The Kalb Report series is produced jointly by The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, University of Maryland University College and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. For the 13th consecutive year, the series is underwritten by a grant from Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Since 1994, the partnership has produced 91 forums with guests including Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Rupert Murdoch, Diane Sawyer, Roger Ailes, Katie Couric, Bill O'Reilly, Bob Costas, Hillary Clinton, Ken Burns, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel and Walter Cronkite.

The Kalb Report was most recently honored with a Gold World Medal in the 2015 New York Festivals International Radio Awards competition for its program Writing History: Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Journalism’s Finest Hour. In 2012, the series received both a Gold World Medal and the overall Grand Award in the New York Festivals for Anchoring 9-11, The Day and the Decade with Dan Rather, Brit Hume, Charles Gibson and Frank Sesno.

The Kalb Report series is distributed nationally by American Public Television. Oklahoma Educational Television Authority serves as the presenting station. The series also airs on Sirius—XM Satellite Radio, Federal News Radio in Washington, D.C. (1500 AM), District of Columbia Cable Television, University of Maryland Cable Television, and NewsChannel 8 in Washington, D.C. Each program is also streamed live at

Moderator Marvin Kalb is Edward R. Murrow Professor Emeritus at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Over the course of his distinguished 30-year career in broadcast journalism, Mr. Kalb served as chief diplomatic correspondent for both CBS News and NBC News, and moderator of Meet the Press. He went on to serve as the founding director of Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. Among his many honors are two Peabody Awards, the DuPont Prize from Columbia University, the 2006 Fourth Estate Award from the National Press Club and more than a half-dozen Overseas Press Club awards. Mr. Kalb has authored or co-authored 14 books including two best-selling novels. His latest book is "Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine and the New Cold War.”

Executive Producer Michael Freedman is a senior vice president and professor of the practice at University of Maryland University College, as well as a professorial lecturer in journalism at the George Washington University. Freedman is the former general manager of CBS Radio Network News, and a former managing editor at United Press International. He has earned more than 85 honors for journalistic excellence including 14 Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Senior Producer Heather Date is a vice president at University of Maryland University College and former CNN producer. She received the Alliance for Women in Media’s 2011 Gracie Award as Outstanding Producer for her work on The Kalb Report.

The Kalb Report series is directed by Robert Vitarelli, a 39-year CBS News veteran and a Directors Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Contact: Bob Ludwig; 301-985-7523;