Michele Norris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Michele Norris
Michele Norris 2014.jpg
Born (1961-09-07) September 7, 1961 (age 61)
Minnesota, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison
University of Minnesota (BA)
Notable credit(s)The Washington Post
All Things Considered
ABC News
The Chicago Tribune
The Los Angeles Times
SpouseBroderick D. Johnson (1993–present)

Michele L. Norris (/ˈmʃɛl ˈnɔːrɪs/ MEE-shel NOR-iss;[1] born September 7, 1961) is an American journalist who has worked as an opinion columnist with The Washington Post since 2019.[2]

From 2002 until 2011, she was co-host of the National Public Radio (NPR) evening news program All Things Considered. Norris was the first African-American female host for National Public Radio (NPR).[3]

Norris is also a member of the Peabody Awards board of directors,[4] which is presented by the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Early life[edit]

Norris was born in Minnesota, to Betty and Belvin Norris Jr.; Belvin served in the Navy in World War II.[5] Michele attended Washburn High School in Minneapolis, and later the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she first studied electrical engineering, before transferring to the University of Minnesota where she majored in journalism and mass communications.[3]


At the University of Minnesota, Norris wrote for the Minnesota Daily, and then became a reporter for WCCO-TV.[3]

Norris wrote for The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times. In 1990, while at The Washington Post, Norris received the Livingston Award for articles she wrote about the life of a six-year-old boy who lived with a crack-addicted mother in a crack house.[6]

From 1993 to 2002, Norris was a news correspondent for ABC News, winning an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for coverage of the September 11 attacks.[3]


Norris joined the National Public Radio (NPR) evening news program All Things Considered on December 9, 2002, becoming the first African-American female host for NPR.[3] In 2015, Fortune described Norris as "one of [NPR's] biggest stars."[7] Norris worked alongside Melissa Block, and Robert Siegel.

Norris' coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath won acclaim early in her time at NPR.[8] She moderated a Democratic Presidential debate in Iowa, alongside Steve Inskeep and Robert Siegel.[9] In 2008, Norris teamed with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep for The York Project: Race & The '08 Vote. Inskeep and Norris share a Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award silver baton award.[10] In her time hosting Norris interviewed a wide range of politicians and celebrities including President Barack Obama,[11] Susan Rice,[12] Quincy Jones,[13] and Joan Rivers[14] among others.

Norris announced on October 24, 2011, that she would temporarily step down from her All Things Considered hosting duties and refrain from involvement in any NPR political coverage during the 2012 election year due to her husband's appointment to the Barack Obama 2012 presidential re-election campaign.[15] On January 3, 2013, NPR announced that Norris had stepped down as a regular host of All Things Considered and would instead serve as an occasional host and special correspondent.[16]

The Race Card Project[edit]

The Race Card Project was a project Norris began in 2010 in collaboration with NPR, inviting people to submit comments on their experience of race in the United States in six words.[17] Norris and collaborators won a 2014 Peabody Award for the project.[18]

In December 2015, Norris left NPR to focus on the Race Card Project.[19] In July 2020, Simon & Schuster announced a book deal for the project. The currently untitled book is based Norris' collection of hundreds of thousands of hidden conversations for The Race Card Project archive. It will be followed by a related children’s book.[20]

Norris, with Chuck Holmes, Melissa Bear, Adrian Kinloch, and Walter Ray Watson, accepts the Peabody Award for "The Race Card Project."

The Grace of Silence[edit]

Norris is also the author of The Grace of Silence,[21] a memoir and reported non-fiction book that started as an extension of an NPR series about race relations in the United States called the Race Card Project.[22] In the book Norris uncovers secrets about race including in her family. In the book Norris writes of discovering her father’s shooting by a Birmingham police officer and also her maternal grandmother’s job as an itinerant Aunt Jemima.[23]


Personal life[edit]

Norris lives in the District of Columbia with her husband, Broderick D. Johnson, the former White House Cabinet Secretary for President Barack Obama,[27] and her daughter, son, and stepson.[28]


  1. ^ Hepola, Sarah (2007). "Heart of Glass: My sexual fantasies about NPR". Nerve. p. 2. Take Michele Norris, co-host of All Things Considered... there was the contrarian pronunciation of her first name, MEE-shell, which was staunchly enforced by every guest, all of whom must have been given a ten-minute primer prior to air.
  2. ^ "Michele Norris joins Post Opinions as contributor and consultant". The Washington Post. December 3, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Michele Norris Biography". The HistoryMakers. 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  4. ^ "Who We Are". Grady College and University of Georgia. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  5. ^ Bonos, Lisa (19 September 2010). ""The Grace of Silence," a memoir by Michele Norris". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Reporter Honored for Articles On Child's Life in Crack House". Washington Post. 7 June 1990. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  7. ^ Groden, Claire (December 18, 2015). "NPR is Losing One of Its Biggest Stars". Fortune. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  8. ^ "Documenter and Documentee – Part Two". www.thirdcoastfestival.org. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  9. ^ "Transcript: NPR Democratic Candidates' Debate". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  10. ^ Steve Inskeep – Audio Books, Best Sellers, Author Bio | Audible.com.
  11. ^ "Transcript: Obama's Full Interview With NPR". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  12. ^ "Susan Rice: Stopping Al-Qaida Critical To U.S." NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  13. ^ "In '08 Interview, Quincy Jones Reflects On Jackson". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  14. ^ "Joan Rivers: Outrageous and Outspoken as Ever". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  15. ^ "An Update for ATC Listeners", NPR. Retrieved 10-24-2011.
  16. ^ Memmott, Mark (3 January 2013). "NPR's Michele Norris Returning As Host/Special Correspondent". NPR.org. National Public Radio. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  17. ^ Stelter, Brian (December 17, 2015). "Michele Norris leaving NPR, expanding her Race Card Project". CNN. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  18. ^ a b 73rd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2014.
  19. ^ Mullin, Benjamin (December 17, 2015). "Michele Norris is leaving NPR". Poytner. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  20. ^ Deahl, Rachel (2020-07-17). "Book Deals: Week of July 20, 2020". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  21. ^ Ciuraru, Camela (September 26, 2010). "'The Grace of Silence,' by Michele Norris". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  22. ^ Sragow, Michael (2010-09-24) "Michele Norris' new book reveals 'The Grace of Silence'", The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  23. ^ "The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris – Reading Guide: 9780307475275 – PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  24. ^ "National Association of Black Journalists". Retrieved 2010-11-14.
  25. ^ Gernstetter, Blake (April 28, 2009). "NABJ Names NPR's Michele Norris". AdWeek. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  26. ^ "Six will receive honorary degrees at Winter Commencement exercises". The University Record. University of Michigan. October 19, 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  27. ^ "Broderick Johnson". whitehouse.gov. 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  28. ^ "About Michele". Retrieved 21 April 2020.

External links[edit]