On Being Tumblr

On Being Tumblr

On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

Donning the Public Media Lab Coat

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Adding a New Dimension to an Old Explosion
Supernova view from the Hubble Telescope. (photo: Smithsonian Institution/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

"The whole of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking."
Albert Einstein, from "Physics and Reality"

"Under normal conditions, the research scientist is not an innovator but a solver of puzzles."
— Thomas Kuhn

I always thought I would become a scientist. As a little kid I had an affinity for white lab coats, beakers, flasks, all the accouterments of the pop culture view of a mad scientist. Plus I admired their mission: to test an idea, a theory, a hypothesis of how something in the world works. My teacher told us that a hypothesis is a guiding question based on complex observation, and I thought that maybe I already was a scientist. And I had a hunch that I wasn’t the only one.

Whose observations of the world and her place in it isn’t incredibly complex? Who isn’t testing a theory, a joke, or a product on the reactions of the people they meet, read about, or hear on the radio? Finding public radio in my small town in the deep South was like finding a secret hidden laboratory. And I still feel like I’m slipping on that imaginary white lab coat when I tune in.

I started to produce live radio so that I could really be in the trenches and roll up my sleeves to put the news of the day to the test of experts and the everyman (that’s one purpose of the call-in format anyhow). But how to test my most personal questions about how to live well and treat others using this method? When Speaking of Faith changed its name to On Being, I finally had my answer. The name change resonated with me as an affirmation of how I listened to the show, and how I test my theories against my experience.

Now that I have just become the newest member of the On Being production staff, I am eager to learn how you, fellow listeners and armchair scientists, hear the show and hear the world. Email me or leave a comment right here.

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Meet Us at the Minnesota State Fair

Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer

The gang from Speaking of Faith will be at the Minnesota State Fair this Friday, August 22, at the Minnesota Public Radio booth (at the corner of Judson Ave. and Nelson St.), between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Although Krista will be in Mississippi, if you’re in the Twin Cities, come say howdy to Kate, Colleen, Alda, Andy, Mitch, Rob and I (and possibly Trent). Don’t worry, I asked your boss if you could take the day off and your boss said it was OK.

I’ve never been to the State Fair, being from Montreal, so I’m looking forward to the festivities. We Canadians put our cheese curds in a bowl of fries and gravy, so I’ll be curious to see what Minnesotans do with ‘em. See you there, eh!

(photo: stevelyon/Flickr)

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Who Am I

Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer

We’ve been asked to redo our staff bios on our About Staff page to make them more, well, human and quirky. Writing your own bio is a very odd experience. You refer to yourself in the third person, possibly like something Napoleon might do. We (and I do mean the royal “we”) hope to get those brushed up over the next few days and up online.

Tagged: #staff
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Interview Day. Do You Know the Way?

Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer

Most of the interviews Krista does with her guests are remote interviews, meaning that we’re here in our studios while our guest is in another studio in another city. We connect through the magic of technology using a broadcast-quality line. From Studio P at American Public Media, Krista interviews Steve Waldman, founder of Beliefnet, on some of the themes in his new book, Founding Faith. We’re hoping to get this show turned around pretty quick because of a trip to San Diego some of the gang is embarking upon next week. More to come about that later.

Here’s Krista cozying up to the microphone. She usually listens to her guest with her eyes closed—no distractions.

American Public Media engineer extraordinaire Josh checks the mixing board as Krista and Steve Waldman chit-chat before the interview.


Rob (left) is about to give away the ending of Deadwood, Season 1, to Mitch, who says, “La la la, I can’t hear you!” Colleen is clearly sad about coming to the end of The Sopranos. The back of Josh’s head is lustrous! All this as we wait for technicians on the other end of the line to finish their setup.

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