Thursday, March 19, 2009

Love, News and Notes

This is a place to post love for NPR's News and Notes, found online at From 2004-2009, News and Notes delivered news from an African-American perspective to a global, multicultural audience.

I had the honor to cover Hurricane Katrina, and to fly with Gen. Russel Honore--who took military command of New Orleans--to Biloxi to see the damage there. My producer Teshima Walker and I saw starving dogs, and she saw the body of fallen resident.

Most of the time the team --- guest host-turned-fulltime host Tony Cox, plus all of our producers and staff -- did a studio-based show that had some serious fresh approaches to news.

We did our bloggers roundtables.....

Africa our interview with Zimbabwe's then-opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. (He's now Prime Minister in a power-sharing agreement with President Mugabe.)....

newsmaker interview (like this one with then-Senator Obama)....

and more.

At this critical time when diversity is too often considered an "extra," please give love to News and Notes just because... and also because it sets an expectation of what we need and want from public media... all media, really. Are we willing to support the hiring of people of color, women, and GLBT community members; people with disabilities too; not just in word but in deed? And what have we learned about how to train people and provide mentorship so folks can stay in the game and make it to to the top?

We know a lot. Just check this manifesto by former NPR staffer and Next Generation Radio Chair Doug Mitchell.

He writes about Finding them and Keeping Them: The Next Generation of [Public Radio] Talent.

I have one letter I will share with you now, with permission of the author. I will ask other folks who emailed me privately if they can repost or I can repost their words.

Please share your thoughts about how News and Notes impacted your life, and any good wishes for the folks who worked on it. Urge people to come here DIRECTLY to share. If you do it on Facebook or a proprietary system, not everyone can be a part..

In any case, Rob from Louisiana sent this:

I was hooked from the moment I heard your roundtable discussion. With a society inundated with perspectives of the majority (whites), it was sobering to have a show that provided excellent journalism from the black perspective. It is by far my favorite NPR show. When my local station dropped the show so did my contribution. I am not a minority- white middle class male talking to you here- and I cherish the show. I have been subscribing via itunes for months now. It is the best part of my mornings, finding a new show daily, uploading to ipod and off to work. I am deeply troubled at the disappearance of a great and needed show. I want to thank you and let you know how much the show (and everyone who contributed to it) has enriched my life.

He added:
There is a community that can support and wants to support diversification within public radio. News and Notes was anything but vanilla radio.

I saw from your twitter that letters from all over the world are showing the love, which is fantastic. I have learned so much about Africa and the African American perspective from the show that I know how little know. If I listed all the things I learned from the show this email would be longer. I am unaware of any show that provided a form for bloggers/journalist to share thoughts and ideas. For me there is now a void.
However, I am optimistic that the next evolution will be better.

PLEASE post your farewells to News and Notes here. Be specific and please stay positive in your remarks... I want to hear the fullness of critique and comment, but think of this as signing a high school year book. News and Notes and all of you who represent our community are graduating... and I'd love to stay in touch.

Farai Chideya
Twitter: @faraichideya


  1. Dear News & Notes,

    I am in my late 20's and recently began listening to podcasts as an alternative to the radio stations we have here in Indianapolis.

    My daily downloads were News & Notes and Tell Me More. I thoroughly enjoyed News& Notes for the focus on African-American interests and how it was an open forum for other ethnic groups as well. I think that News & Notes helped educate those not familiar with the African American experience and for that, I am grateful.

    Though I'm going to miss the show very much and still don't understand why such quality programming was cancelled, I will continue to follow and support Farei Chideya, as she is one of the voices of the Black America that I know and live daily.

    Thank you News & Notes, for being so great.

    Amber P.

  2. Thank you Farai, not only for your compassionate and honest interpretations of current events, but for your unwavering dedication to addressing issues that mainstream media are sometimes too conservative (or scared) to envelop in such unrelenting detail... Your views have stimulated much needed discussion within myself and my circle of associates... There is much work to be done and many more discussions to have while we realize our respective yet collaborative goals.
    Peace and blessings to you and all of the N&N staff and contributors...
    Justin Reed Early

  3. What a great life N&N had under your leadership -- in fact, you being there is what made me tune in. Now I will just have to see where you land....You are so clear, you know your material, you care, you are so damn smart and you have a sense of humor....sadly that's a rare gift, but one you will certainly keep giving....

  4. I was 'turned on', 'inspired' and 'tuned in' to News and Notes after hearing Farei Chideya several years ago. I listen to NPR almost every night and learn something new about African American Culture each time I listen. As a caucasian woman (did I spell that right?) it doesn't matter, black, white, green, red... whatever...the show is about the human experience and adversity within the diversity of the population....I will be really sad not to be able to listen in and it is very disappointing to see you go...Farai, you must keep us aware of what you are doing next.
    Deborah Marquit

  5. I was a regular listener to News and Notes, and then I was honored to become a contributor to the blogger's roundtable. It was an incredible experience and an education for me. Every time I participated, without fail the next day I'd get phone calls and e mails from unlikely Miami friends of mine, expressing joy at hearing my voice on their radio last night. It was a tremendous opportunity, and I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you.

    On a personal note -- Farai, you helped me to feel more confident and comfortable expressing my opinions on the air, and this blogger sincerely appreciates your foresight in reaching out and incorporating new media.

    News and Notes was brilliant, enlightening, and will be sorely missed. But I know you're on to truly big, bold new things. Can't wait to see what you do next! And to everyone else at News and Notes (and NPR, and WLRN) that I had the pleasure to work with in this capacity -- respect, love, and best wishes for your future endeavors!

  6. A quick blog I wrote about missing News & Notes...

    One of my all-time favorite radio shows, NPR’s News and Notes is having its last show today. Too sad. I love this show!

    News & Notes is a show that tells news from an "African American Perspective" and I catch it on Clark Atlanta’s jazz station 91.9 FM (a cool place to hang your radio dial). They tell stories about Hazel Scot, the first black woman to have her own TV show in the 1940’s (It didn’t last too long, she was blackballed by Hollywood. But imagine a black woman on TV in America in the 40’s and only in 2008 did someone write a book about her- News & Notes is where I heard her story). They profiled a movement of women in Liberia that went on to play an integral role in ending the violence ravaging their country in war time. These are only 2 examples of what I’ll truly miss about the show— the varied perspectives and points of view they brought to the table (and these 2 examples don’t do it justice— they really covered news and stories from every corner of black life. I"m just too lazy to list others).

    It’s on NPR so I guess you could say there’s a bit of “liberal” slant if you’re one to categorize, but listening to the show I got the idea that there was no concern about advancing an ideology or a specific take on black life. They just wanted to tell true stories about the millions of people that are born black (however that manifests itself) and the world they live in. I haven’t seen any broadcast on tv or radio attack news and stories from such varied angles as this show. I know there’s always the internet/google, but News & Notes brought a myriad of viewpoints under one roof. Not to mention the host, Farai Chideya , is a class act who really knows how to get to the heart of any interview in very little time all while displaying a genuine interest in whatever the topic may be.

    Sigh, it will be sorely missed.

  7. Farai and the rest of the N&N staff,

    I just want to thank you for this informative program. I am still a fairly new listener to NPR (I've only been listening for about 1.5 years!), but News and Notes was one of the first shows I listened to religiously. The range of topics covered was interesting, and the coverage was informative and smart. As a black woman, I was so proud to hear you host such a wonderful show.

    When the news came that N&N would be canceled, I actually cried. I couldn't believe it. With the arrival of the nation's first black president, I was excited for the future of N&N, and I couldn't believe it was being canceled at such an important time.

    I feel as though I'm getting long winded, so I'll just end it here. I'm so sad that I'll no longer be able to listen to this show; however, I'm hopeful for the future. PLEASE keep us updated on what projects you have coming down the pipeline. I'll definitely listen.

    Forever and always a fan,