Norris, host of ‘All Things Considered’ calls NPR ‘protein in your media diet’

Justin Metz

Michele Norris, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” spoke in the Timken Great Hall at the Professional Education and Conference Center at the Kent State Stark Campus last night. Norris’ topic covered new technology in an evolving world of journalism.

Credit: DKS Editors

Michele Norris remembers a time when newspaper stories were called in across town through the closest pay phone and “Google” sounded like the eighth dwarf.

Norris, who hosts NPR’s newsmagazine “All Things Considered,” spoke to approximately 500 people at the Kent State Stark Campus last night. The first guest of this year’s Featured Speaker Series, Norris, focused on the constantly changing world of journalism.

“I must say that I don’t know how my predecessors of ‘All Things Considered’ considered all things before they had access to things like Google,” Norris said. “But something is missing when you’re always relying on a keyboard for information.”

As an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, Norris has seen first-hand the way technology is changing the world around us. Before starting her work at NPR, Norris also reported for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

“I have relationships with sources that I’ve never met. I talk to them all time,” Norris said. “There’s something missing though. What’s missing is that we don’t look people in the eye.”

According to Norris, nearly everyone is bombarded with news the entire day. Any time you turn on your computer, television, radio or cell phone, the news is always within reach.

While there are many advantages to the prominence continuous news in our lives, Norris said the media bombardment can put many people on overload.

“It’s sort of like snacking on Cheetos all day,” Norris said. “You don’t really want your dinner, do you?”

Norris said that the speed at which news travels is also changing the way it is reported. Instead of reading an in-depth commentary on a news event, the average person is more likely to read a quick briefing of the event minutes after it takes place.

“Many people have noticed that the paper you receive may be getting a little lighter,” said Norris. “These are tough days for journalists across the country.”

Even though many news organizations have seemingly sacrificed depth for speed, Norris said that NPR is still holding fast to thoughtful news commentary. The organization is steadily expanding, which is evidenced by its opening of news bureaus across the globe.

“I hope that NPR is much like the protein in your media diet,” said Norris.

Nancy Saulnier is an NPR listener from the community who came to hear Norris speak.

“I’m the one who stays in the car,” said Saulnier. “When I hear something really interesting I have to sit in the driveway or the garage until it finishes.”

Saulneir said it was well worth her time to hear Norris speak.

“I thought it was very interesting,” Saulnier said. “All in all it was a great evening.”

Contact regional campuses reporter Justin Metz at [email protected].