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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

NPR Cutting Black Journalist Farai Chideya

The Baltimore Sun had this news brief today:

Public radio cancels 2 programs, cuts 64 jobs

National Public Radio announced yesterday that it is canceling two programs and eliminating 64 jobs, blaming a “sharp” decline in corporate underwriting and other revenue…Many of the staff cuts were realized by canceling two shows, Day to Day and News & Notes. Both are scheduled to go off the air March 20.


“It’s crucial to realize that these programming changes are being driven by a loss in revenue, not relevance,” Ellen Weiss, NPR’s senior vice president for news, said in a statement.

Farai Chideya’s program News & Notes

explores fascinating issues and people from an African-American perspective. The one-hour daily program is hosted by Farai Chideya and produced at the NPR West studios in Culver City, CA.

Farai responded on her NPR blog:

We Love You! (And, Yes, We Are Cancelled)

Farai Chideya

We, the News & Notes staff and crew, love you, our listeners and collaborators.

I was just in Miami and met with so many amazing listeners, including some of the artists in the 30 Americans exhibit we featured on air.

We got your love in St. Louis, Atlanta, Baltimore, and beyond.

And we’re still here for you … for a while.

Massive budget shortages have brought NPR to the space between a rock and a hard place … that is: cancellation time.

Both News & Notes and Day to Day (the two wholly West Coast-based shows) will end production on March 20.

We are still dealing with the news, but we are committed to making sure we give you our best, now and as long as we’ve got.

Peace and joy,


Farai was profiled in 2007 as “Afrobella of the Month” on the afrobella blog:

In terms of print, Farai started out as a researcher at Newsweek magazine. She was a writer for MTV News from 1994 to 1996. She’s already published three books – 1995’s Don’t Believe the Hype is already in its eighth printing. 2001’s The Color of Our Future: Race in the 21st Century was named one of the best books for young adults by the New York Public Library. In 2004, she released the timely Trust: Reaching the 100 Million Missing Voters. In 1997, Newsweek named her to its “Century Club” of 100 people to watch.

In 1996, Chideya founded, a brilliant site that combines music, film, international news, and political perspectives. The site has won beau coup awards and accolades, including a MOBE IT Innovator award. Chideya has been named one of Alternet’s New Media Heroes, and both her and the site were ranked in’s list of 25 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics.

On television, she’s been a correspondent for ABC News, and anchored Pure Oxygen on the Oxygen channel. During the 1996 Presidential election campaign, she provided commentary on CNN. She’s also appeared on ABC News, Fox, and MSNBC. Before she found a home at NPR, she hosted a daily news and cultural call-in show on San Francisco’s KALW 91.7 FM.

And oh yeah, then there’s this from her official bio: “In 2001-2002, she was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University. She has published articles in newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Time, Spin, Vibe, O, The California Journal, Mademoiselle, and Essence. Awards for her writing and broadcast work include a 2004 “Young Lion” award from the Black Entertainment & Telecommunications Association (BETA), a GLAAD Award for the Spin article “Hip Hop’s Black Eye,” and a National Education Reporting Award for work at Newsweek. She currently serves on the Journalism Advisory Committee of the Knight Foundation, which disburses over $20 million in journalism-related grants each year.”

Farai spoke about the death of credible journalism at the

(cannot embed the video) Annenberg School of Communication.

Many of you may be familiar with her as a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher:…

Her Bio:

FARAI CHIDEYA, 34, moderated the third Democratic Presidential Debate last September, and has contributed political analysis and commentary for CNN, MTV, Fox, MSNBC, BET, CBS and ABC. She was named to Newsweek’s “Century Club” of 100 people to watch, placed number seven in’s worldwide survey of “25 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics,” and received awards including a National Education Reporting Award, a Unity Award in Media, a GLAAD Award, and a MOBE IT Innovator award.

Chideya has been covering politics professionally for fifteen years, and first wrote about politics for a national publication at the age of sixteen. She’s published articles in newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, Time, Spin, Vibe, O, Mademoiselle and Essence. Chideya has also published three books: “Don’t Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African Americans,” (Plume Penguin, 1995), “The Color of Our Future,” (William Morrow, 1999), and “Trust: Reaching the 100 Million Missing Voters” (Soft Skull, 2004), which illustrates why half of Americans are cut out of the political system – and what we can do about it. Chideya completed a Freedom Forum Media Studies Center fellowship, examining why young Americans are tuning out the news, and anchored the prime time program “Pure Oxygen” on the Oxygen women’s channel.

In addition to her work as a television political analyst, she currently hosts Your Call Radio, a political and cultural call-in show, on San Francisco’s KALW 91.7 FM. In conjunction with San Francisco State University, she has also re-launched PopandPolitics, an online journal of news and opinion founded in 1995.

I have been an observer from both inside and outside the Public Broadcasting System for many years, since the days of the investigation of the lack of minorities in Public radio and TV when CPB issued its report – A Formula for Change: A Report on the Task Force on Minorities in Public Broadcasting, in 1978.

Many of the people of color and women who currently hold positions in Public Broadcasting got their start as a direct result of that groundbreaking report and the institution of a six million dollar Minority and Women’s Training Grants Program.  I worked on that report and was an administrator of the Training Grants Program (which has been discontinued).  The commitment to minority producers and management has eroded.

Minority job share doubles in pubcasting, but still lags behind progress of women

Members of minority ethnic groups have not advanced as rapidly as women into higher positions in public broadcasting over the past two decades, despite significant efforts within the system to make both programming and the workforce more multicultural.

In public television, 12.5 percent of full-time officials and managers are members of minorities; 18.1 percent in pubradio are, according to 1998 employment data (table at right). Those percentages are double what they were in 1978, when a CPB-funded task force looked at minorities in public broadcasting and found that “the scarcity of minority programs can be attributed directly to the insufficient number of minorities employed in public broadcasting, particularly in decision-making positions.”

I am sorry to hear that NPR management has again made “budgetary decisions” that eliminate one of the few news programs it has produced and hosted by a sister.  

You can contact Ellen Weiss, senior vice president for news at:

cross-posted at Daily Kos


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