James F. Blue III
Senior Vice President, Head of Smithsonian Channel
James F. Blue III is the Senior Vice President, Head of Smithsonian Channel. In this role, he works in close partnership with the extraordinary Smithsonian Institution to lead, expand and diversify Smithsonian Channel’s content offerings to build on its momentum and support the Institution’s efforts to engage, inspire and educate. His oversight also includes content creation and all related experiential and event programming.
Most recently, Blue served as the special projects and senior producer of PBS NewsHour where he oversaw all NewsHour specials, extending the brand across platforms through shows and events as well as serving as the executive producer’s primary deputy for the daily broadcast. He also managed several NewsHour reporting initiatives, including Searching for Justice, Race Matters, and Chasing the Dream. During the 2012 election cycle, Blue was an executive producer for BET Networks’ political broadcasts that included exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as well as extensive coverage of Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. As an independent producer, Blue executive produced BET’s coverage of Michelle Obama’s historic trip to South Africa and Botswana and undertook projects for UNICEF, the International Labor Organization (ILO), and Johns Hopkins University, among others. From 2006 to 2009, he served as a producer in the Koppel Group at the Discovery Channel. His debut documentary for Discovery, Iran – Most Dangerous Nation, won an Emmy® Award for best long-form program. Blue worked the preceding 14 years as a producer for ABC News (including 9 years at Nightline) and NBC News with postings in New York, Washington, DC and London.
Over the course of his career, Blue’s work has won every major broadcast journalism award: eight national Emmy awards; two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards; five George Foster Peabody Awards; two Overseas Press Club Awards; the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism; and the NABJ Award for Overall Excellence. Blue has been a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists on two separate occasions. An adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he also serves as a trustee of the Maryland Institute College of Art and is a member of the Overseas Press Club, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Blue is a graduate of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.