Peabody Award-Winner Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, Here April 22

Peabody Award-Winner Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, Here April 22

April 15, 2002

April 15, 2002, Greencastle, Ind. - Ira Glass, host and producer of National Public Radio's This American Life, will appear on the DePauw University campus Monday, April 22, to discuss his unique style of story telling. At 4:15 p.m. in Watson Forum of the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media, a question and answer session with Mr. Glass will take place. At 8 p.m., Glass will talk about and demonstrate his work in a speech in the ballroom of the Memorial Student Union Building. Both events are free and open to the public.

A Chicago-based experiment in radio vérité, This American Life combines "found tapes," monologues, documentaries, short fiction and musical interludes in four-act shows built around a common theme, such as fiascos, sentencing, conventions, or the job that takes over your life, creating stories that are engaging, intimate, surprising, funny, disturbing and bittersweet. The show had its premiere on Chicago's public radio station, WBEZ, in 1995 and quickly won a Peabody Award. It went national in 1996 and is now heard on more than 300 public radio stations. In May of 1999, Rhino Records released the two-CD set Lies, Sissies & Fiascoes: The Best of This American Life. In 2000, Glass received the Lyndhurst Prize, in recognition of his work in public radio.

Ira Glass, founder of This American Life, began his career as an intern at NPR when he was 19, working for All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Sidestepping sensationalism, Ira Glass takes the best of confessional culture and serves up narrative epics that pinpoint, in the tradition of Studs Terkel, the unusual in the everyday.

The Chicago Tribune opines, "[This American Life] is public radio's fastest growing program, a sort of Prairie Home Companion with no comic Lutherans and a host who never insists on singing with his musical guests ... [it is] the radio program that projects the child-at-a-windowpane sensibility of Ira Glass into American homes and automobiles each week ... like a chronicle of society's obsessive fringe."

In a May 13, 2000 commencement address to the University of California Graduate School of Journalism, Glass said, "I have complete editorial freedom, I and my staff; I get to do stories that interest me deeply; I get to try new things; I get to do things that I want. This American Life is conceived of as a kind of experiment to do kind of the most idealistic, wide-eyed things that journalism can do -- that is, to bring forward the voices of people who would never get on the radio elsewhere, to provide a perspective on this country that you couldn't get elsewhere -- all of these things that are very kind of public broadcasting. And, I have to say, almost inherently, often very dull. What we try to do is all of those things, and be conceived of as a kind of entertainment from the start -- create stories and moments that you listen to, not because you feel it is going to be good for you, but because it draws you in, you stay with it, it gives you pleasure, you want to find out what happens."

To access the This American Life web page, click here. To read Ira Glass' commencement speech in its entirety, click here.

Ira Glass' DePauw visit was written up in the Thursday, April 18 Indianapolis Star. Read the short preview by clicking here.