Terra Sigillata

i-5de42bea152d6bf09f40ee738ff7da81-fchideya.jpgDriving home tonight, I learned that NPR is cutting staff and canceling two shows produced at NPR West: News & Notes with Farai Chideya and Day to Day with Madeleine Brand. (Full memo at HuffPo)

Farai put up a blog post late this afternoon entitled, We Love You! (And, Yes, We Are Cancelled). I don’t know if I’d have the gut and optimism to be so gracious in the face of having my show terminated effective 20 March 2009. The companion blog post at Day to Day certainly lacked this optimism. But Farai has many, many things going in her favor despite this setback:

Chideya, who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated with a B.A. from Harvard University magna cum laude in 1990, is also the founder of PopandPolitics.com, an online journal for younger Americans based at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications. Chideya and PopandPolitics.com have won awards including a MOBE IT Innovator award, being named one of Alternet’s New Media Heroes, and ranking in PoliticsOnline.com’s worldwide survey of “25 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics.”

Chideya has published three books. Don’t Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African Americans (Plume Penguin, 1995), is now in its eighth printing. . .

. . .and so on. Read the rest of her bio here.

As I have returned to an area of academia focused on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities, Ms Chideya and News & Notes gave me great insight into my community and, in particular, was a tremendous resource in the 18 months leading up to the US presidential election. Moreover, Farai routinely featured bloggers and it was on her show that I first learned of the Philadelphia attorney and author of the award-winning Field Negro blog. Farai’s interview with Stephen Sterling of Esterlina Vineyards opened my eyes to the Association of African American Vintners and the interest in estate wines produced by Black professionals.

At a time when the US has elected its first African American president, one would hope that NPR could’ve kept its one program one of its two programs devoted specifically to the African American community. But, like all businesses, money talks and financial support for shows produced at NPR West suffered from the stock market downturn to which News & Notes was not immune.

However, I am certain that Farai Chideya will find a very high-profile position in journalism where her talents will reach an even wider audience at this critical juncture in American history.

Olbermann, Matthews, Maddow: I’m looking at y’all.

Comments

  1. #1 kacr
    December 10, 2008

    News & Notes is not actually the only show focusing on African American life. Tell Me More with Michel Martin does as well.

  2. #2 Abel Pharmboy
    December 11, 2008

    kacr, thanks for pointing out my oversight – Tell Me More runs a good bit later than does News & Notes in my market. As it conflicts with bath and/or reading time with the PharmKid, I unfortunately miss the program often. Apologies to you and Michel Martin – let’s hope that her job is safe for now.

  3. #3 Barn Owl
    December 11, 2008

    My local NPR affiliate doesn’t air News and Notes; in fact, only 3 NPR stations in Texas offer this program (in Houston, Prairie View, and Dallas). The program Latino USA airs on at least 20 NPR affiliates in Texas. I’d rather my NPR station aired more programs like News and Notes and Latino USA (and a program on disability rights and advocacy would be most welcome), than some of the not-very-regionally-relevant programs they’ve chosen instead.

    I occasionally listen to Day to Day at work, but my increasing annoyance with NPR has led me to download podcasts of Democracy Now, and to listen to those instead. An example of a very recent outrage (IMHO) was an interview with Bill O’Reilly. Blecchhh.

  4. #4 kacr
    December 11, 2008

    I used to catalog News & Notes at NPR and provide audio research. TMM is a bit different, maybe not as much “hard news”, I’d say. I download some public radio shows regularly to my ipod, and listen to them on other stations via the internet. check out publicradiofan.com It is an awesome resource. Take care!