This I Believe

Acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow jumped back into popular consciousness this month thanks to a new movie, Good Night, and Good Luck, which skillfully depicts the 1954 televised confrontation between him and Senator Joseph McCarthy. In the film, as in real life, Murrow prevailed, and McCarthy and the Un-American Activities Committee went the way of the dinosaur.

A few years before his scrap with McCarthy, though, Murrow did the country another great service. In 1951, he launched “This I Believe,” a media project that, over time, got Americans from all walks of life writing, talking and thinking about their core beliefs, the ones that guide their daily lives. He conceived the project as a way to respond to the climate of confusion, fear and cynicism that had swept the country at that time. Murrow’s view of America then has a whole lot in common with how many of us look at our country today.

With this in mind, National Public Radio (NPR) revived Murrow’s “This I Believe” project this past year and began airing segments each Monday that featured “belief” essays from both famous and regular people. The idea is not to persuade people to agree on everything, since, as Murrow said, “there is no pat answer for the problems of life.” Instead, the goal is to inspire people to express their own core values and to respect beliefs different from their own.

We at SN&R decided to join in the endeavor.

In partnership with local NPR affiliate Capital Public Radio (CPR), we’re launching a local dialogue along similar lines. (We were encouraged to see that UC Davis recently launched an independent but similar project, “My Personal Compass,” that seeks to do much the same.) In our version of “This I Believe,” we’re looking for short essays (some of which will be printed in upcoming issues or on our Web site, or may be aired on CPR), wherein members of the community discuss their deepest values, perhaps by telling the story of a turning point or the tale of a transforming event in their lives.

You, in particular, are invited to join us. Please see the promo on page 67 or go to for more details about how to get involved.