March 1, 2007
Contact:
Leah Yoon, NPR
 | 

NEWS & NOTES TO AIR “STORYCORPS GRIOT” ORAL HISTORIES

News & Notes Now Available as Full Program Podcast;
Show Also Profiles Powerful Women
in Month-Long Series Starting Today



March 1, 2007; Culver City, CA – News & Notes, the daily NPR news talk program hosted by Farai Chideya, has been chosen to be the broadcast home for the upcoming StoryCorps Griot oral histories of African Americans starting this Spring.

The StoryCorps Griot initiative – a new element of StoryCorps, the successful landmark project begun in 2003 to collect multi-generational stories of Americans across the country – will visit nine cities over 12 months to collect nearly 2000 oral histories of African Americans. The tour started in February in Atlanta and segments will begin on News & Notes later this year. Other StoryCorps segments will continue to air every Friday on the NPR news magazine Morning Edition.

Additionally, beginning this week, News & Notes is now available as a full program podcast. The download can be found on the public radio podcast directory at www.NPR.org and on other podcast aggregators.

News & Notes also launches a month-long series of conversations with women in positions of national and local power today, March 1.

According to David Isay, President of Sound Portraits Productions which produces the StoryCorps series, “News & Notes is the perfect setting for this extraordinary project, since the show’s mission parallels that of our Griot initiative. Our goal is to help ensure that the voices, experiences and life stories of African-Americans will be preserved and presented with dignity, and build bonds between citizens by celebrating our shared humanity and collective identity. News & Notes shares the same commitment and delivers it to listeners every day.”

“We are delighted to be the broadcast partner with StoryCorps for this very special initiative,” added Nicole Childers, Executive Producer, News & Notes. “StoryCorps has redefined ‘the American experience’ and brought these voices to millions of listeners through NPR programs. The opportunity to now share the oral histories of everyday African Americans who have shaped this country with our News & Notes audience is invaluable.”

News & Notes’ new series, “Leading Ladies,” features interviews with a variety of women in positions of power in politics, the military, religion, culture and other arenas. They include conversations with former Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Bishop Vashti McKenzie, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. Following the mid-term election, News & Notes previously offered a series of conversations with a cross-section of African Americans who are among the new leadership in Congress. Among those interviewed were such people as New York Congressman Charlie Rangel, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, California Congresswoman Diane Watson and New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne.

Among other new elements in the show, News & Notes has begun a series of regular conversations with contributors who offer perspectives on global news and culture. Chideya has an ongoing dialogue about Africa with NPR foreign correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault, based in Johannesburg. Other regular contributors on a variety of subjects include economist Julianne Malveaux, former ABC News anchor Carole Simpson, former U.S. Army Secretary Togo West, Princeton University Professor Melissa Harris Lacewell and Ron Christie, former deputy assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney.

StoryCorps Griot is the largest oral history project of its kind since 2300 slave narratives were documented by the WPA ‘s Federal Writers Project in the 1930s. StoryCorps Griot is the first national collaboration of the future Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, slated to open within the next decade. For information about StoryCorps Griot please visit http://www.storycorps.net/griot/

News & Notes airs on 88 stations Monday through Friday and is produced at NPR West in Culver City, CA.