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For immediate release
July 27, 2005
Chad Campbell, NPR: | 202.513.2304

Deirdre Sullivan of Brooklyn, NY to be Broadcast Essayist On August 8 Edition of This I Believe, NPR Series Exploring Personal Values

Essay Capturing The Importance of Small Gestures Chosen From More Than 4500 Entries

WASHINGTON - This I Believe, the NPR® (National Public Radio) weekly series of personal essays about core values and beliefs - a contemporary version of Edward R. Murrow's landmark 1950s project - will feature the thoughts and words of Deirdre Sullivan of Brooklyn, NY on the August 8 edition of All Things Considered®

Sullivan, whose essay was chosen from among 4500 submitted since the series launched three months ago, writes how her father instilled in her the importance of attending funerals out of respect for the person's family. Sullivan says, "'Always go to the funeral' means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don't feel like it." She adds, "I'm talking about those things that represent only inconvenience to me, but the world to the other guy. You know, the painfully under-attended birthday party. The hospital visit during happy hour. The Shiva call for one of my ex's uncles. In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn't been good versus evil. It's hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing."

Sullivan joins an impressive list of essayists who have contributed to the series since it made its premiere April 4; participants have included former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris, authors John Updike and Isabel Allende, psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison, and physicist Brian Greene. This I Believe also features the work of NPR listeners from around the country who have responded with essays on a variety of subjects.

According to Jay Allison, who hosts the segment, “We get a lot of essays about belief being influenced by others, particularly fathers. Deirdre's essay took some fatherly wisdom and extended it, made it more broadly significant and useful, made it leap from the personal to the universal, from advice to credo."

Sullivan, an attorney, began writing her This I Believe essay after visiting the series' Web site,, and listening to Helen Hayes' 1950s essay, among many others from the current and original series. Sullivan listens to NPR programming on WNYC in New York.

NPR and its member stations have always had a strong connection to its listeners, and with This I Believe, listeners have the opportunity for their personal beliefs to be heard on more than 600 public radio stations across the country, reaching over two million people. Essays from listeners comprise at least half of the pieces broadcast.

During its original run in the 1950s, Murrow's This I Believe launched a national dialogue about core values and beliefs. The contemporary version covers a broad spectrum of topics such as compassion, faith, love, the power of change, the importance of knowledge, the value of family and tolerance. The essays range from poignant to humorous, and provide unique insight into what Americans believe in the 21st century. This I Believe essay writing has already been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship and even birthday celebrations. This I Believe essays have been read or played at weddings and funerals. Additionally, blogs have featured the concept among groups as diverse as college students, senior citizens and people affiliated with various religious and political associations. The segments air every Monday, alternating between NPR's signature newsmagazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

To date, This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on To find your local station, to listen to past essays or to submit an essay, please visit

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.

This I Believe is a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., Dan Gediman and Jay Allison, producers.

This I Believe is partially funded by Farmers Insurance Group of Companies®, which is the nation's third largest Personal Lines Property & Casualty insurance group.