Michele Norris Is Leaving NPR to Work on Her Race Card Project


Michele Norris, the host-turned-special correspondent of All Things Considered—and the first black woman to host the program—is leaving the company to continue to grow The Race Card Project, the Peabody Award-winning enterprise she started to explore American experiences of race.

NPR announced the news Thursday, and though they did not immediately say what Norris would be doing next, she clarified her plans in an interview with Brian Stelter at CNN. “It touches people like nothing I have ever done in journalism,” Norris said of The Race Card Project, which she started in 2010 after releasing her memoir The Grace of Silence (“a book about ‘the hidden conversation’ on race that is unfolding nationwide”) by asking people to “talk about race by sharing Six Word essays on their personal experiences or observations” and share them via postcard. That simple idea has paved the way for NPR to produce lengthier, fascinating stories, like one we covered in 2013 about why “Black babies cost less to adopt.”

Norris indicated she will seek to expand the project, in part through partnerships with media outlets. She said she also intends to work on a book and learn more about the digital media ecosystem.

Norris has been at NPR for 13 years. Like WAMU’s Diane Rehm, who recently announced her plans to leave the grind of public radio, she’s made an indelible impact on the media landscape. “She has an incredible gift for getting people to feel comfortable and open up about their lives and share themselves with her, and, in turn, with all of us,” NPR news chief Michael Oreskes said in a statement. “She has brought grace, humanity, and uncompromising excellence to bear in covering the toughest of topics.”

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image of Norris interviewing Stacy Schiff via AP.

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