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For immediate release
June 13, 2005
Contact:
Chad Campbell, NPR:
ccampbell@npr.org | 202.513.2404

Steve Porter of Cleveland, MO Chosen As Broadcast Essayist From Among 3000 Submissions For This I Believe, New NPR Series Exploring Personal Values

To Air June 20 on Morning Edition; Porter Joins Colin Powell, Director Errol Morris and John Updike Among Contributors to Series

WASHINGTON - This I Believe, a new NPR® (National Public Radio) weekly series of personal essays about core values and beliefs - a contemporary version of Edward R. Murrow's landmark 1950s project - will feature the thoughts and words of Steve Porter, who lives in the Kansas City suburb of Cleveland, MO on the June 20 edition of Morning Edition®.

Porter's essay was chosen from among 3000 submitted to the series' producers since the series launched two months ago. He writes about his belief in what he calls "the 50 percent theory:" half of life filled with high points like the joys of fatherhood and sports, with the other spent dealing with low points such as the death of a loved one. Porter says, "There are those high points: Romance and marriage to the right person; having a child and doing those Dad things like coaching my son's baseball team, paddling around the creek in the boat while he's swimming with the dogs, discovering his compassion so deep it manifests even in his kindness to snails, his imagination to build a spaceship from a scattered pile of Legos." Porter also discusses how the 50 percent rule applies to the ups and downs of his favorite baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, which allows him to see hope beyond their recent slump.

Porter joins an impressive list of essayists who have contributed to the series since it made its premiere April 4. Among the influential leaders who've written and read their personal This I Believe essays are former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris, authors John Updike, Kay Redfield Jamison and Isabel Allende and scientist Brian Greene. This I Believe also features the work of NPR listeners from around the country who have responded with essays on a variety of subjects.

According to Jay Allison, who hosts the segment, "Steve's belief in the '50 Percent Theory' reminds us of something we all appreciate the longer we live, which is that life is a balance of highs and lows, that the good years can help carry us through the bad ones, and, moreover, that good ones are likely to come again."

Porter, a community relations specialist, was inspired to write his This I Believe essay after hearing several of the essays including listener Sarah Adams and author Kay Redfield Jamison. He listens to NPR programming on KCUR-FM/89.3 in Kansas City.

NPR and its member stations have always had a strong connection to its listeners, and with This I Believe, listeners have the opportunity for their personal beliefs to be heard on over 600 public radio stations across the country, reaching an estimated 1.9 million people. Essays from listeners will comprise at least half of the pieces broadcast.

During its original run in the 1950s, Murrow's This I Believe launched a national dialogue about core values and beliefs. The contemporary version covers a broad spectrum of topics such as compassion, faith, love, the power of change, the importance of knowledge, the value of family and tolerance. The essays range from poignant to humorous, and provide unique insight what Americans believe in the 21st century. This I Believe essay-writing has already been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship and even birthday celebrations. This I Believe essays have been read or played at weddings and funerals. Additionally, blogs have been launched based on the concept by groups as diverse as college students, senior citizens and people affiliated with various religious and political associations. The segments air every Monday, alternating between NPR's signature newsmagazines Morning Edition® and All Things Considered®.

To date, all of the aired This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on www.npr.org. To find your local station, to listen to past essays or to submit an essay, please visit www.npr.org/thisibelieve.

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 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 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.