NPR’s Michel Martin on telling no more


Michel Martin’s “Tell Me More” on NPR ends on Aug. 1.

I may nod my head clean off reading Michel Martin’s piece on The National Journal website. Martin, who lost her NPR show “Tell Me More,” is strumming my pain with her fingers. (Lost isn’t the right word – that implies negligence on her part, like she misplaced one in a pair of socks. She was stripped of her show.)

After years of being paid to frame the world from a perspective often ignored, Martin will move into some nebulous role. These reassignments are designed to make it seem like Martin will have more impact, but when you go from having your own show to having… nothing that you can control – I guarantee you that this is no promotion.

I can hear her hurt in this essay titled “What I’ve Left Unsaid.” Martin writes:

One reason I am so disappointed about the cancellation of Tell Me More, which will have its last broadcast Aug. 1, is that the show has allowed me to prioritize these discussions on my own terms. It has been a place for women from all backgrounds to tell their own stories, and discuss what it really takes not just to survive but thrive.

That’s a nice way of saying this: One sister has ONE show on NPR telling stories y’all weren’t never going to tell no way and even that was too much. Y’all just couldn’t stand not to be in charge of erry damn thang! Damn!

When news of the reassignment broke, I read that her show wasn’t getting the ratings NPR management wanted. And what I wondered was whether her show got the resources other shows did. I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say no.

If you want a good laugh, check out her interrogation of new NPR CEO Jarl Mohn. She grills him on what NPR’s commitment to diversity looks like. He makes the case that diversity works if it makes business sense – which means that if it makes money, yay diversity. If not, *shrugs.*

I wish Martin and every other woman who has found herself in a similar situation well.

Read more about diversity in journalism in my earlier post here.


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