NPR’s Martin joins Tippett to consider big-picture questions



Michel Martin, former host of NPR’s “Tell Me More,” will join fellow radio host Krista Tippett today to continue to address the topic on the Interfaith lecturers’ minds this week: the American consciousness.

Martin and Tippett’s conversation will take place at 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy. Week Seven’s Interfaith Lecture theme is “Conversations on the American Consciousness.”

Martin, who has spent more than 25 years as a journalist in print, television and radio, joined NPR in 2006 to develop “Tell Me More,” a one-hour daily news and talk show dedicated to connecting communities of color with the traditional public radio audience, according to NPR. The program addressed family, spirituality, financial literacy, politics and Martin’s personal reactions to news stories, among other topics.

“I wonder what it’s like to leave everything and everyone you know for the promise of a better life, to run for president, to be a professional athlete, to parent children of a different race,” Martin told NPR. “I am fascinated by people who live lives different from my own. And at the same time, I feel connected to all of these lives being a journalist, a woman of color, a wife and mother.”

What makes public radio special, Martin told NPR, is that it has “both intimacy and reach all at once.”



“For the cost of a phone call, I can take you around the world,” she said. “But I’m right there with you in your car, in your living room or kitchen or office, in your iPod.”

Martin, who previously worked at ABC News, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, gave the final “Tell Me More” broadcast last week, and will continue to work on NPR News programs and at live events, she said in a radio address.

Tippett said she is eager to explore the American consciousness with this week’s speakers because it is rare to stop and address big, enduring questions.

“We don’t have a lot of time in our collective life to step back and think about the big picture here of the American consciousness and how that’s shifting,” Tippett said.

Tippett plans to use her conversations this week for her radio broadcast, “On Being.”

“It’s an adventure to do a live event, and you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen,” she said.

Maureen Rovegno, associate director of Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion, said the United States has always had a very specific sense of its identity and place in the world, and Tippett’s conversations will continue to expound themes initially addressed earlier in the season.

“At this point in history it is prudent, I think, for America to consider its own self-consciousness, both how we look at ourselves but also how the world looks at us, and make wise decisions based on what we learn from that process of self-expression,” she said.