For immediate release
March 17, 2005
Contact:
NPR, Chad Campbell:202.513.2304

NPR Presents This I Believe

WASHINGTON - NPR's® This I Believe, a national project that presents America's core beliefs and values through the voices of its most famous citizens and everyday Americans, will debut on more than 600 public radio stations and NPR.org on April 4, 2005. Each week, NPR will feature a three-minute essay read by its author and introduced by award-winning producer Jay Allison on NPR's newsmagazines Morning Edition® or All Things Considered®, among the most listened-to programs in radio.

The following Americans, all leaders in their fields, have agreed to participate and more essayists are expected: former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, author Isabel Allende, musician Laurie Anderson, athlete Charles Barkley, actress Drew Barrymore, commentator William F. Buckley Jr., President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, playwright Eve Ensler, AIDS researcher Dr. Anthony Fauci, politician Newt Gingrich, author and journalist David Halberstam, director Ron Howard, Senator John McCain, Her Majesty Queen Noor, actor Robert Redford, writer and activist Gloria Steinem and author John Updike.

At the conclusion of each segment, host Jay Allison, previously the host and co-producer of NPR's award-winning series Lost & Found Sound, will ask listeners to submit their own essays through NPR.org for possible inclusion in NPR's programs or online archives. NPR encourages potential participants, who wish to express the core values that guide their lives and how they arrived at them, to submit an essay for consideration. The best essays received from listeners and essays commissioned from prominent Americans will air on NPR's newsmagazine programs and/or appear on NPR's website at www.npr.org/thisibelieve. Essay writing guidelines can be found at www.npr.org/thisibelieve/guide.html.

This I Believe is based on the popular 1950s radio show of the same name, which was hosted by iconic journalist Edward R. Murrow. The original series featured well-known essayists including Presidents Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Jackie Robinson, Albert Einstein, as well as poets, cab drivers, corporate leaders, and hundreds of people willing to share the guiding principles by which they lived. Their words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism and racial division. The program had an estimated audience of 39 million listeners and spawned a weekly column in 85 leading newspapers and four internationally best-selling books.

This I Believe is an ambitious undertaking to document the beliefs and values of today's citizens and to remind people about the original series' essays from "the Greatest Generation". The earlier series aired over 1000 essays and created a comprehensive portrait of the 1950s.

DuPont-Columbia award-winning independent producer Dan Gediman, the executive producer, said, "We are very excited to partner with NPR on this special series. The goal of This I Believe is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs but to encourage Americans to pursue the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own."

Jay Kernis, senior vice president for programming, said, "We are thrilled to partner with Jay Allison and Dan Gediman to bring this extraordinary series back on the air. At political gatherings, in houses of worship, at the office water cooler, on the internet, and at the dinner table, it's clear that people are more interested than ever in discussing the role that beliefs and values are playing in our lives. This series offers listeners and online visitors the opportunity to hear the individual experiences that led to the beliefs of these remarkable Americans."

NPR is producing the series in collaboration with Atlantic Public Media and This I Believe Inc. This I Believe is funded by Farmers Insurance Group of Companies®, and grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and acclaimed director Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons Foundation.

NPR.org will include text and audio from the new series and photographs of the essayists taken by noted photographer Nubar Alexanian. With an extensive archive of text, audio and photographs from the original series, the website will also allow visitors to explore the 1950s essays.

To listen to All Things Considered and Morning Edition in your area, please visit www.npr.org/wheretohear.


About NPR
NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 22 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 760 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, npr.org offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.