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For immediate release
June 15, 2005
Contact:
Chad Campbell, NPR:
ccampbell@npr.org | 202.513.2404

Fifty-One Years After Contributing to Edward R. Murrow's Original This I Believe Radio Series of Essays About Core Values, Elizabeth Deutsch Earle of Ithaca, NY Is Essayist for NPR's New This I Believe

Special Edition of Series to Air Sunday, June 19 on Weekend Edition Sunday

WASHINGTON - In 1954, when she was only 16 years old, Elizabeth Deutsch Earle was chosen by Edward R. Murrow to participate in his signature This I Believe radio series featuring essays by famous and everyday Americans about their core values and beliefs.

Now, 51 years later, Earle returns in a unique role: as an essayist for the contemporary version of This I Believe, which recently made its premiere on NPR. Her essay will air on the June 19 edition of Weekend Edition Sunday. Earle recorded her original essay in New York City and returned there this week to record her new essay. In celebration of her link between the past and the present, this special edition of This I Believe includes excerpts from Earle's 1950s essay, her new essay and an interview with host Liane Hansen.

A photograph of Earle working with Murrow on her original essay is featured in the June 19 issue of USA Today Weekend magazine.

Executive Producer Dan Gediman notes, "I'm excited that Elizabeth is participating in the new series. I spent many weeks researching the 1950s essayists, and Elizabeth was the first one I successfully located. With only her maiden name and hometown available, I was eventually able to locate her email address and she responded within minutes of me emailing her. She hadn't thought of her original essay for decades but fondly recalled her trip to New York City and meeting Edward R. Murrow. She was astonished and excited that as only a 16 year-old her essay would be included with those from Presidents and other prominent Americans." Dan adds, "She was initially hesitant to write a new essay, however after several months, she decided to write one and surprisingly after 50 years most of the original essay is consistent with her beliefs today."

Earle's original essay, written when she was a student, detailed her search for a religion and for beliefs to guide her, as she becomes an adult. Now a professor of biology at Cornell University, she writes, "I still believe most of what I wrote long ago…The world I see now worries me at least as much as it did in the 1950s." Earle adds, "When I was young, an honest and moral life seemed like a straightforward goal. I now know that it's not always easy to see what should be done and even harder actually to do it." Earle listens to NPR programming on WEOS-FM/89.7 in Geneva, NY and WSKG-FM/90.9 in Ithaca, NY.

Earle joins an impressive list of essayists who have contributed to the new 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.

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 600 public radio stations across the country. Earle's essay will reach an estimated 1.2 million people on Weekend Edition Sunday. 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 regular 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 http://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.