For immediate release
June 21, 2006
Emily Lenzner, NPR:
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Veteran Journalist Leroy Sievers Launches "My Cancer" Multi-platform Series Monday, June 26
Sievers Shares His Experiences Battling Cancer in Morning Edition Commentaries, Podcasts and "My Cancer" Blog on www.NPR.org
Washington, D.C. - "After that day, your life is never the same. 'That day' is the day the doctor tells you, 'You have cancer.'"
Longtime broadcast journalist Leroy Sievers will detail his battle with cancer, his treatment and its impact on his life - and solicit comments and opinions from listeners - in "My Cancer," a monthly series of commentaries on the NPR newsmagazine Morning Edition, a weekly NPR podcast and a daily blog at www.NPR.org/mycancer launching June 26.
Well-known as a former executive producer of ABC News Nightline, Sievers was first diagnosed with colon cancer five years ago. Last December, the cancer returned in the form of a brain tumor, which was successfully removed with surgery. He continues to battle the illness with chemotherapy treatments and detailed the experience in a Morning Edition commentary that aired February 16, 2006. "Everyone has a cancer story, so when Leroy came up with this idea, it immediately struck a chord with us and with our listeners," said Ellen McDonnell, Executive Producer of the NPR newsmagazine. "The listeners seem to really appreciate Leroy's honesty and transparency in the way he describes his experience. Rather than get hung up on medical terminology, he cuts right to the personal impact cancer has on all of us."
Sievers' next commentary, airing Monday, June 26, will look at the challenge of telling others about one's own cancer diagnosis. The "My Cancer" weekly NPR Podcast, launching the same day and updated Mondays, will include Sievers' Morning Edition commentaries as well as a series of podcast-only originals. Sievers will also keep a daily journal of his experiences in the "My Cancer" blog. From his unique perspective, he'll delve into treatment strategies, the science, and his interactions with the medical community. Readers will be invited to share their own thoughts, feelings, successes and setbacks.
Sievers, who had already been contributing commentary to NPR on other topics like Rwandan Genocide and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, turned the focus of one of his essays to his own experience. Said Sievers: "It's a difficult topic to talk to about. Some people don't even like to say the word 'cancer' out loud. But for those of us who are fighting it and for our friends and family, we have no choice but to be honest."
A journalist for more than 25 years, Sievers worked at ABC News Nightline for 14 years, the last four as executive producer. Sievers developed and produced the daily Nightline newsletter sent via email to viewers that went on to build a significant following of nearly 100,000. At ABC and during the years prior at CBS News, he covered more than a dozen wars, including Desert Storm, Rwanda, Somalia, Kosovo, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. During the invasion of Iraq, Sievers was an embedded journalist with Ted Koppel and was also responsible for "The Fallen," Nightline's tribute to the service men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since leaving Nightline, Sievers has been a guest lecturer at the Annenberg School of Communications at the USC and traveled to Africa for Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group.