NPR logo Host ProFile: 'The Single Most Important Thing I Do Is Listen.'

Inside NPR

Host ProFile: 'The Single Most Important Thing I Do Is Listen.'

NPR Host and Special Correspondent Michele Norris.
©2006 NPR, by Jacques Coughlin

My name... Michele Norris
NPR employee since... October 2002
Public radio listener since... I grew up as a prisoner of public radio. I've been listening since I was a kid.
My job at NPR is... Host/Special Correspondent. People think the most important thing I do is talk since I spend hours in front of microphone of one kind or another, when, in fact, the single most important thing I do is listen.

The Race Card Project

Back behind the microphone in her new role as NPR Host & Special Correspondent, Michele Norris has set her heart (and ear) on the powerful collection of six-word essays submitted by NPR listeners for The Race Card Project. Conceived by Norris as a kick-start to honest conversations about race in America, The Race Card Project invokes participants to distill their own experiences, hopes, laments or observations into six-word sentences – all collected on digital "Race Cards" and displayed at

The overwhelming level of response from people all over the world fortified Norris' talent for eliciting even the hardest of truths – earning her the well-deserved focus of this week's ProFile.

I use social media to... tap into conversations and worlds that might otherwise be out of reach.

I've learned the most about radio from... Susan Stamberg. When I arrived at NPR she told me to be myself. Full Stop. End of paragraph. End of story. Be yourself. That is all.

I wanted to be... an electrical engineer ...when I grew up.

Old-school manners are ...a breath of Fresh Air.

On Sunday morning, you'll find me... in church with my family.

I can't live without... my children's laughter.

If I could share a coffee with anyone, it would be... the person I was 20 years ago. Boy would I have great advice for her.

Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me that... I have to act my age.

Check out Norris' recent conversation about The Race Card Project with Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep. And for listeners in the Washington, D.C. area, Norris will also be In Conversation with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg – exploring the role of working women in America – at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue on Thursday, March 14.