Who We Are

Jennifer Lawson Howard University Television

Jennifer Lawson is general manager of Howard University Television, WHUT-TV, a post held since June 2004. She recently co-produced a documentary, “Security versus Liberty: The Other War,” in association with ABC News Productions. This program premiered nationwide on PBS in April 2007. For nine years prior to WHUT, she headed Magic Box Mediaworks, a company that co-produced an eight-hour television series, AFRICA, in association with Thirteen, New York and National Geographic Television. This award-winning series, which portrays Africa through African eyes, was developed from ideas based on her experiences in Africa. The series premiered nationwide on PBS and internationally in over 130 countries to critical acclaim in September 2001.

From 1989 to 1995, Jennifer Lawson was Executive Vice President, Programming and Promotion Services, PBS.  She was public television's first chief programming executive and was responsible for the strategies that resulted in PBS's two most successful series, The Civil War and Baseball. She developed several highly regarded children's series including Barney & Friends, Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? that increased children's viewing of public television over 100% in three seasons and resulted in the most watched week in PBS history in January 1993.

Before joining PBS, she was director of the Television Program Fund at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting where she commissioned hundreds of successful programs and managed a $43 million annual budget.  Prior to CPB, she was chief executive officer of The Film Fund, a New York foundation supporting independent filmmakers.She also taught film at Brooklyn College for three years, produced two documentaries, and worked as a screenwriter and children's book illustrator.

She was recognized as one of "the 101 Most Influential People in Entertainment" in 1990 by Entertainment Weekly and as one of the "Power 50," or fifty most influential women in entertainment, by The Hollywood Reporter in 1994. She is chair of the board of American Public Television, a trustee of PBS, on the Advisory Board of Washington Women in Film and Video and the Community Advisory Board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.