Inspiration: Michele Norris

12 Feb

 Michele Norris is an award winning, history making journalist. But, her career plans weren’t always rooted in journalism. She began her college years at University of Wisconsin as an electrical engineering major. She later graduated from University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where she earned a degree in journalism in 1985. Norris’ journalism career took off in 1993, when she became a contributing correspondent for ABC News. Her “Closer Look” segments appeared on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. The segments often dealt with education, poverty and problems for residents of inner cities. While working for ABC, Norris earned Peabody and Emmy awards for her reporting during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In December of 2002, Norris left her position at ABC and began hosting the Nation Public Radio show “All Things Considered,” along with journalists Melissa Block and Robert Siegel. Her position on the show made Norris the first African-American woman host on NPR. Norris has also acted as contributing writer for major newspapers, such as The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times. In 1990, Norris was awarded the Livingston Award for a series of articles written about a six-year-old boy who lived in a crack house with his addict mother. Norris has won many other awards, including the National Association of Black Journalists “Salute To Excellence” award for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina. In 2009, Norris was named one of Essence Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Black Americans. Also in 2009, Norris was named “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists. Despite Norris’ achievements, and her place at NPR, she was not mentioned in the 2010 book “This Is NPR.” The book was released as a celebration of NPR’s 40th Anniversary. Norris was quoted as “disappointed,” by her omission from the book. A representative from NPR later called it an “inexcusable mistake.” Norris continues working for NPR, and is proud of the recent release of her family memoirs, “The Grace of Silence.”

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