May 18, 2007
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR | 

“FATHER OF THE INTERNET” VINT CERF
SHARES BELIEF IN RESPECTING OTHERS – IN PERSON AND ONLINE –
IN ESSAY FOR NPR’S THIS I BELIEVE SERIES

CERF’S ESSAY TO BE PODCASTED AND AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD
MONDAY, MAY 21 ON NPR.org


May 18, 2007; Washington, D.C. – Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist of Google who is often called “the Father of the Internet,” shares his belief in the importance of respecting others – both in person and online – in an essay for the NPR series This I Believe. A podcast version of Cerf’s essay will be available for listening, reading and download on Monday, May 21 on www.NPR.org.

Inspired by newsman Edward R. Murrow’s 1950’s radio program of the same name, This I Believe features Americans from all walks of life expressing their core beliefs and values in short, personal essays.

In his essay, Cerf recalls feeling empathy for a limo driver in his 60s, only to discover that he was a retired CFO who took the job to meet interesting people. “I believe that every person deserves respect, and that I can learn something new from everyone,” says Cerf in his essay. “Now, I make a point of asking people about their stories. …I’ve found most people are patient with me if I show an interest and respect for what they have to say.”

Cerf also relates this belief to a medium he knows well, the Internet, saying: “Some people think the Internet isolates and dehumanizes us. I don’t agree. The net is simply a vehicle for people to communicate. When an online discussion becomes testy, many of us have learned to move the discussion to face-to-face or at least the telephone so that better social cues can moderate an increasingly angry exchange. Reading words often invites the worst possible interpretation. Understanding this is key to the world of the Web.”

Cerf joins a growing list of well-known essayists who have contributed to the series since its premiere on April 4, 2005, including Craiglist.org founder Craig Newmark; former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Senator John McCain; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates; skateboarding pro Tony Hawk; activist Gloria Steinem; author John Updike; and musician Wayne Coyne.

More than 28,000 NPR listeners have also submitted essays to This I Believe. Essays chosen for broadcast have ranged from revelations about parents, personal struggles, race and identity, to the importance of feeding monkeys.

This I Believe essay writing has been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship as well as birthday celebrations. Essays have also been read or played at weddings and funerals. The series is a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., Dan Gediman and Jay Allison, producers. To date, This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on NPR.org. To listen or to read past essays, please visit www.NPR.org/thisibelieve.