ENG 101: Fall 2010 (Shank)<br />Essay Assignment #1: “This I Believe”<br />Important Dates to Remember:<br />Assigned Readings (see bottom of 2nd page): Monday, August 30<br />Writing Workshop for 3 Students: Wednesday, September 15<br />Essay #1 Due Date for Everyone: Friday, September 17<br />If you happen to listen to National Public Radio (NPR), you might recognize the title of this assignment, “This I Believe.” This regular segment on NPR spotlights an essay written by one of us, an average everyday American (with sometimes a celebrity getting in on the action). “This I Believe” is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. In creating “This I Believe,” Murrow explained that "
In this brief space, a banker or a butcher, a painter or a social worker... will write about the rules they live by, the things they have found to be the basic values in their lives."
<br />Each day, millions of Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists and secretaries -- anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. Their words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism and racial division.<br />Two NPR folks – Jay Allison and Dan Gediman – revived the show because of the pertinence they felt the show could have today: "
As in the 1950s, this is a time when belief is dividing the nation and the world … We are not listening well, not understanding each other -- we are simply disagreeing, or worse. Working in broadcast communication, there's a responsibility to change that, to cross borders, to encourage some empathy. That possibility is what inspires me about this series."
Allison and Gediman say that their goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, they hope to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own. <br />So what is your task? To write an essay that would be appropriate for this NPR segment. If you visit the NPR web site (www.npr.org), search for the link for “This I Believe” (currently on the lower right; if you can’t find this link, do a quick search on the web site; You can also use the web site address, www.thisibelieve.org). Note that the web site includes many examples (both written and oral) that other folks have written (including some from the original 1950s version of the show) as well as a link on “Essay-Writing Tips.” [This info is also in our book!] The show suggests that you write no more than 500 words, but you are welcome to extend that if you think that you need the space. Make sure that you have a point (in academic-talk, we would call this a thesis, of course). Think about the specifics (in both your language and examples) that would make your “This I Believe” essay clear. You’ll also need to think about your audience – you are not necessarily just talking to me. So just who are you talking to??<br />Keep in mind that your essay should also reflect college-level writing so be sure to proofread and edit your work. And my advice to you? Don’t wait until the last minute – see me if you have any questions ASAP!<br />Other Comments:<br />Papers should be typed and double-spaced. Font size and margins should be honest. I'd hate to have to stipulate what these must be. Just know that using large fonts and margins to pad out a short paper is obvious. <br />Number your pages.<br />Make sure that you put the class info on the top left-hand side (see syllabus!)<br />No extra spaces between your paragraphs – just regular double-spacing throughout!<br />Make sure you proofread your final copy before turning it in!<br />Remember: if you want to revise this essay after I hand it back to you, you MUST keep the original copy (with my comments) that you turned in or I won’t re-read it!<br />Questions????? Ask me anytime!<br />