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Today's word on journalism

Monday, March 6, 2006

"Neutrality in journalism means refusal to take sides. Many newspapers are neutral with regard to certain issues. Hardly a newspaper exists which is completely neutral upon all issues. Such a newspaper would be regarded as spineless. Just as the individual cannot escape taking sides against evils in life, so the newspaper necessarily has convictions against crime, corruption, and other evils in public affairs."

--George Fox Mott, journalism professor, in "An Outline Survey of Journalism," 1940

Logan writer to be featured on 'All Things Considered'

By Marie MacKay

March 3, 2006 | Everyone has a story to tell and at 15 years old, Cecile Gilmer thought hers wasn't going to have a happy ending.

After losing her mother from a self-inflicted gunshot when Gilmer was 7 years old, she eventually found herself living in a motel room off Interstate 10 in Houston with her father.

She was heading down a road that would lead to bitterness and cynicism. Then the Beach family came along and changed her life forever.

Today this 44-year-old Logan resident is telling her story to the nation, giving hope to those in similar situations.

As part of National Public Radio's This I Believe weekly series, an essay written by Gilmer explaining how her life took a drastic turn for the better, will be featured Monday during the radio network's edition of All Things Considered. The program airs from 3 to 6 p.m. on KUSR 89.5 and and KUSU 91.5 FM.

"I couldn't have been more thrilled,' Gilmer said. "It gives me the chance to thank the Beaches publicly and that was really heartfelt and warming."

Gilmer is the first broadcast essayist from Utah to be chosen from among more than 10,000 submissions for the series based on the 1950s program created by Edward Murrow.

"What a powerful story," Series Executive Producer Dan Gediman said. "It is completely unique to her life but at the same time a universal experience."

Aside from choosing essays from the general public, the new rendition, which began in April 2005, features personal essays from people such as John McCain, Errol Morris, Colin Powell and Bill Gates.

"We're asking people from all walks of life to reflect on important critical beliefs," Gediman said.

"In many respects, the most interesting essays come from the general public."

Gilmer has enjoyed freelance writing for years and decided to write an essay about how she believes in the importance of family even if they may not be blood related.

"These people saved my life; you can go either way as little girl," she said. "I am just so grateful that they were brave enough to take in 15-year-old girl when they didn't have to."

After reading the essay, Gediman expressed the same feelings, emphasizing that many parents and children can relate. He suspects there will be a very large emphathetic response after the essay is aired.

The goal of the series This I Believe is for Americans to share their personal feelings about life and their core values. Even though the original series first aired during the 1950s, many Americans today share similar fears and worries as back then, Gediman said.

"I believe in America and I believe in our people. I believe that our greatest strength in dealing with the world is the openness of our society and the welcoming nature of our people. A good stay in our country is the best public diplomacy tool we have," former Secretary of State Colin Powell said in the April 2005 morning edition of the current series.

Essayists chosen for the series receive $200 as well as a copy of a book with all the essays from the series included in it, Gediman said.

"I think what NPR is doing is a really amazing thing," Gilmer said. "I think it's an invaluable gift that they give their audience, the chance for the audience to hear what's important to Americans."

Aside from free-lance writing, Gilmer is a meeting planner for large corporations. She has lived in Logan for three years. Previously, she worked in the hotel business for most of her career in California.

A reading of her essay will be aired on NPR during its edition of All Things Considered. In addition, her essay will be available to read or listen to beginning Monday at www.npr.org/thisibelieve.

Those interested in reading more about this series or submitting an essay can visit the same Web site for more information.

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