How To Do A This I Believe Essay

What is a This I Believe essay?

Our project is about telling the stories of our core values. But rather than starting with a belief statement of something you believe, start by telling a compelling story about how you came to hold an important personal belief—something that guides your daily living. Your story can illustrate a time that your belief was challenged, or how that belief shapes your daily activities. Try sharing one story about the roots of your core values, instead of composing a list of all of your beliefs. Just make sure your essay is about your own experiences, not simply an opinion about a social issue.

How long should my essay be?

Essays should be approximately 500 to 600 words, or about three minutes when read aloud at your natural speaking pace.

Can I submit my essay to this website or by U.S. Mail?

Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints, we are no longer accepting essays. Our hope is that people across the globe will continue writing and sharing This I Believe essays with each other.

I can’t find my essay online. Can you help?

You can search for your essay on our website by following these directions. While at, mouse over the top header “Explore,” then scroll down and click on “Essay Search.” On this page, fill in your first name and last name in the appropriate fields. You will notice that only your first name will be seen on the web page with your essay. We do not publish last names or other personal information on our website. The only exceptions to this rule are essayists who have granted permission for use of their last name or essayists from the original 1950s series.

Can I fix typos in my essay after it has been published on your website?

This I Believe is not able to make any corrections to essays after they have been submitted to our project.

I would like to remove my essay from this website. How can I go about this?

Please write to us via our contact page with your first and last name, approximate year of your essay, and a brief description of your essay. We will get back with you to confirm that we will delete your essay from our website.

Can I submit my essay to other publications after I have submitted it to This I Believe?

Yes. This I Believe does not own the copyright to your essay. We simply ask that you submit your essay elsewhere with a title of your own choosing. Please do not name your essay “This I Believe” or include that in the title, as that name is copyrighted by our organization.

I am an educator and would like to use this in my classroom. Where do I start?

We suggest starting at our Educator Resources page or the Frequently Asked Questions page for Educators.

Where can I hear new essays?

This I Believe has a weekly essay online and in our free, downloadable podcast.

How can I contact the author of my favorite essay?

We do not share personal contact information for any of our essayists. However, you may share your thoughts about a specific essay or your comments about the series by visiting our contact page.

How can I get a transcript of an essay?

You can print transcripts of the essays from our website using your browser’s print function. All essays may be printed for personal use only. Please know that all essays on this website, as well as other materials, are protected by copyright laws. If you wish to make copies of essays beyond individual personal use, please feel free to contact our Permissions Director with details of your request.

How can I get books or audio recordings of This I Believe essays?

This I Believe has published eight books and several audio collections of essays. Please visit our Store to learn more. Your purchases help keep this website up and running.

How can I obtain resources to bring This I Believe into my classroom, civic group, or place of worship?

Visit our Educators and Communities, and House of Worship pages to learn more about the materials we have available.

How can I purchase a product in your store using a purchase order?

You can mail a purchase order to us at: This I Believe, Inc., P.O. Box 5625, Louisville, KY 40255.


Nubar Alexanian

Series Host Jay Allison




Nubar Alexanian

Series Producer Dan Gediman, April 4, 2005 · This I Believe® is an exciting national project that invites you to write about the core beliefs that guide your daily life. NPR will air these personal statements from listeners each Monday on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. By inviting Americans from all walks of life to participate, series producers Dan Gediman and Jay Allison hope to create a picture of the American spirit in all its rich complexity.

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 said the program sought "to point to the common meeting grounds of beliefs, which is the essence of brotherhood and the floor of our civilization."

In spite of the fear of atomic warfare, increasing consumerism and loss of spiritual values, the essayists on Murrow's series expressed tremendous hope. "We hear a country moving toward more equality among the races and between genders," says Gediman. "We hear parents writing essays that are letters to their newborn children expressing the hopes and dreams they have for them. And we hear the stories of faith that guide people in their daily experiences."

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.

"As in the 1950s, this is a time when belief is dividing the nation and the world," says Allison about life today. "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."

In reviving This I Believe, Allison and Gediman say 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.

NPR's This I Believe is independently produced by This I Believe, Inc. in Louisville, Ky., and Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Mass. Find out more about the people behind This I Believe.

Support for This I Believe is provided by Capella University, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Righteous Persons Foundation.

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