Over the past few months, since we announced that our weekly essay series on NPR would come to an end in April, there has been some concern on the part of listeners as to why we have ended the NPR series. First of all, I want to stress that while the NPR series has concluded, our international essay project, and This I Believe Inc., the organization that produces it, live on. You can visit our Web site, www.thisibelieve.org, to read the tens of thousands of essays that have been submitted by the public, write one of your own, download our educational curricula, and sign up for our weekly podcast and newsletter, which will continue indefinitely.
In early 2008, when we began discussions with NPR about a fourth year of "This I Believe" on its news programs, we made it clear — and NPR concurred — that this would be our last year. The series was originally envisioned to be on the air for only one year. Due to tremendous listener response, we were able to continue for three additional years, for which we are enormously grateful. However, after four years and more than 200 essays, we feel the time is right for the series to come to a close.
In ending the series, several people asked if it was due to a lack of funding. Like most everyone in public broadcasting, and in the rest of the world for that matter, This I Believe Inc., has been affected by the economic crisis and has needed to scale back some of its activities. We have indeed lost major funding in the past year that has not yet been replaced. However, that was not what motivated us to end the series on NPR.
We at This I Believe Inc. are committed to the future of the "This I Believe" essay-writing project. Our collaboration with NPR has been tremendously fruitful, and we are eternally grateful to the staff of NPR for giving us our start.
And now we are ready to do other things. This May, we begin broadcasts on Bob Edwards Weekend, which will feature weekly segments built around some of the essays from Edward R. Murrow's original 1950s version of "This I Believe." We will continue to publish books and CDs anthologizing some of the best essays that have been submitted to us. And we will continue to work with local radio stations, newspapers, schools, libraries and other community organizations that are interested in organizing events and other activities. You can contact us on our Web site if you wish to learn more.
So as we make this transition, our larger mission remains: We are dedicated to engaging America — and the world — in the exercise of writing one's core beliefs and sharing them with one's neighbors, friends and family so we may understand one another better. We hope you will join us.
This I Believe Inc.