Timothy John Russert (May 7, 1950–June 13, 2008) was an American television journalist and lawyer who appeared for more than 16 years as the longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press. He was a senior vice president at NBC News, Washington bureau chief and also hosted the eponymous CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview program Tim Russert. He was a frequent correspondent and guest on NBC's The Today Show and Hardball. Russert covered several presidential elections, and he presented the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey on the NBC Nightly News during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Time magazine included Russert in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008. Russert was posthumously revealed as a 30-year source for syndicated columnist Robert Novak.
Russert was born in Buffalo, New York to Irish American Catholic parents Elizabeth (Betty), a homemaker, and Timothy Joseph "Big Russ" Russert, a sanitation worker and newspaper truck driver, who were married for 30 years and separated in 1976. He was the second of four children; his sisters are Betty Ann (B.A.), Kathleen (Kathy) and Patricia (Trish). He received a Jesuit education from Canisius High School in Buffalo.
He received his B.A. in 1972 from John Carroll University and a Juris Doctor with honors from the Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1976. Russert commented on Meet the Press that he went to Woodstock, "in a Buffalo Bills jersey with a case of beer." While in law school, an official from his alma mater, John Carroll University, called Russert to ask if he could book some concerts for the school as he had done while a student. He agreed, but said he would need to be paid because he was running out of money to pay for law school. One concert that Russert booked was headlined by a then-unknown singer, Bruce Springsteen, who charged $2,500 for the concert appearance. Russert told this story to Jay Leno when he was a guest on the The Tonight Show on NBC on June 6, 2006. John Carroll University has since named its Department of Communications and Theatre Arts in Russert's honor.