October 2, 2014
Michel Martin —
The Fabric of Our Identity

The third in a four-part series, "The American Consciousness."

If journalism is a primary way we tell the story of ourselves and our time, Michel Martin is a person helping us tell that story — and take part in it — more completely. Her daily NPR program Tell Me More was often labeled as “diversity” or “minority” programming. But in fact, she and her journalism are about a more generous and realistic sweep of who we are now — and how we’re creating our life together anew. At the Chautauqua Institution, we mine her wisdom on the emerging fabric of human identity.

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is a journalist with NPR. She previously reported for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and ABC’s “Nightline.” She was the creator and host of the NPR program Tell Me More, which ran from 2007-2014.

Pertinent Posts


The American Consciousness

This is the third episode in a special series on "The American Consciousness." Human identity is more fluid than ever before. How do we live gracefully in this moment of change, helping to shape it? How do we nurture common life, even as we are reinventing it? With Imani Perry, Richard Rodriguez, Michel Martin, and Nathan Schneider.

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Ferguson and Beyond: A Community Conversation

After Ferguson, Missouri erupted in protest over the death of Michael Brown, St. Louis Public Radio invited Michel Martin to host a public forum at Wellspring Church on August 28, 2014. The convening included concerned citizens, the mayor of Ferguson, the St. Louis chief of police, and other politicians. Listen in as Martin guides a searching conversation about the community's longstanding tensions around race, inequity, and municipal governance. A brave conversation within and beyond Ferguson — public radio at its finest.

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In the Room with Michel Martin

"I think part of what we’re doing is showing people another way to talk to each other. And I’m hoping that people will draw inspiration and courage from that. I hope I’m not being too grand, but I’m hoping what they will do is say to themselves, I can do that, too."

Michel Martin's journalism seeks a fuller, more generous and realistic sweep of who we are now — and how we’re recreating common life. A public conversation at the Chautauqua Institution.

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The other day I was listening to NPR in the afternoon and, without warning, I heard myself yell, "Where's Michel Martin? Bring Her Back!"

Ms. Martin brought reason and grace to thorny topics and potentially volatile discussions. We need her voice today, more than ever. Bring Back Michel Martin--Every Day!

"Tell me More" I have found to be the magical words when communication with young people as long as you who have asked "Tell me More" refrain from saying anything until asked.

What a treasure, both Michel and the Interviewer. Listening to Michel was fantastic. Both ladies were prime examples of the best NPR has to offer. Diversity of thought, clear expression of ideas, introspection of self ans society.

On Being is wonderful. Thank you for including Michel Martin. She is inspires me to confront and cope with thorny issues, to keep getting up in the morning, to be brave. Thank you, too,Krista Tippett. This.

Thank you, Ms. Martin and Ms. Tippet! I caught most of your conversation this morning (Oct. 5)and was very moved by it. It touched me on so many levels... including on the level of discerning how I will continue in my work in the world, which I also, like you Ms. Martin, understand to be a ministry of presence. I love what you say, and think we may all be called to be witnesses... witnesses to the existence of the other. "I see you." "Your life has value, meaning"... and not just as a consumer or producer. What is more human? "I see you." You may be a cultural christian, but you do exactly what Jesus (and many other people of different or no faiths) have done... See the other. Listen to the other. Tell their stories or encourage them to tell their own.

I live out of the country, so seldom have a chance to listen to NPR... and so confess, am not familiar with your programs. This morning I was "supposed" to have the radio off in the car and be mentally preparing for a spiritual direction session. "Next red light, I'll turn it off..." Finally, I said, Oh, I think you are speaking, God!

I have a little time before returning to Central America to think about how what you both shared applies to me... applies to how I am to be present to the women, the young people too.... but certainly part of the call is to seek how to SEE. How to LISTEN. How to let their stories be told.

Thank you.

I finally found a person who shares the same insight like me, and the same type of upbringing, and now her show is being taking off the air. She will be missed, but more important, Michel reinforced my insight I have on life, since I finally found someone who shares this mind set with me

Thank you for another great episode, it is important to celebrate the great work of Michel Martin with"Tell me more." We're suffering a great loss with the cancellation of this show that talked about the real meaning of racial diversity in creative, engaging and humorous ways. I always felt like I was listening in on a conversation around a kitchen table, overhearing words filled with wisdom and grace. Michel, I'm one of your many "white" listeners, who is giving a shout out to say we must have diversity in the news media. Your show sets the standard, here's an example to follow!

I too, miss the conversations and the everyday, and The humanness and the curiosity to so many subjects. It made radio have a type of naturalness to it. Michel, we need you to stay involved with us with your knowledge and grace. A fan.

Michel Martin's Tell Me More was the main reason I subscribed to NPR even though my local NPR station didn't carry her show.I listened to her in Detroit, because I drove through there every day for a while, and loved it. I especially looked forward to the Barbershop, which I listened to every Friday, even when I went home. I was surprised and disappointed that the show was not in other areas, not only urban areas(not even in Chicago?!) No wonder why it didn't satisfy the powers that be with "numbers" i really believe that if it had better exposure and better time slots in more areas it would have done better numbers-wise.

Michel Martin reminded me that there are real people who need their stories to be told. And also that we need to be active readers of the news. Putting the life back in news media which often feels like wallpaper. We forget we have a voice and a say in our lives. Especially when our community is global, there is a danger of feeling insignificant. We would benefit from journalists as warriors; by them helping point us in the directions of stepping stones to real problem solving. Michel Martin is a warrior!

I am listening to NPR daily - almost all day long. And begin to have concerns. I regret very much that "Tell me More"has been taken off the air. Especially at these trying times, we need voices like Michel Martin. I would like to see her come back with "Tell me More".

I went to CNN’s Belief Blog this morning to test a Ms. Martin's and Ms. Tippett's lament that so much of the media’s coverage of religion is “either infantile or incendiary”. Clicking on the CNN's Banner Link to "Faith Now", the response: "Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here".

Is CNN's technical glitch a (funny) case in point?

I'm a huge fan of Michel Martin and Krista Tippett, they are the best !!!

Here it is several months since we last heard "Tell Me More," but I am still missing it so much that I just did a Google phrase search on the phrase, "bring back 'Tell Me More'" with "Michel Martin" as additional words.
There was _nothing_ like this program on radio. Some real dolts excused the demise of this program by writing a laundry lists of minorities that work on NPR, as if number of minorities balanced out the loss of such a great program! I am so angry at the folks who think her program was nothing but a minority program. It was so, so, so much more. I'm a middle-aged white woman and this program represented America! I am so tired of hearing twee programs on NPR. Bring back the Beauty Shop, the Barbershop, and Michel Martin's _program_. I reduced my NPR donation slightly, I feel more and more like reducing it more. This was such an incredibly poor decision on NPR's part.