Situated in the Fore Greene section of Brooklyn, New York is a non-profit organization that specializes in the recording and preservation of stories from Americans who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and religions so that they could be shared with the public. This organization is known as StoryCorps. Founded in 2003 by Dave Isay (Radio Producer), the company stemmed from another project called Sound Portraits Productions and it presently draws from many oral history inspirations ranging from oral historian Studs Terkei to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) from the 1930’s decade.
Ever since Studs Terkei himself cut the ribbon for the very first StoryCorps’ recording booth in Grand Central Station, the organization has a record of over 30,000+ interviews from over 60,000 Americans. Interviews are typically conducted between two people who are close or know each other. This can be a friend, acquaintance, co-worker, colleague, spouse, or family member. Each interview is a 40 minute recording session headed by a trained facilitator who leads the two participants through it.
Each StoryBooth is a relatively small and widely accessible recording studio, all of which are now located in different places (i.e. Foley Square in Lower Manhattan and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, CA). Participants are also given the option of recording their stories through a MobileBooth as well. For those who aren’t able to visit a StoryBooth, there’s a door-to-door service where a StoryCorps Facilitator will pay a visit. Last but not least, there’s also a do-it-yourself method which is StoryKit, this can be shipped right to your door, complete with a portable recording device and free downloadable interview instructions.
Once finished, they are given complimentary copy of the interview on a CD but a $25 donation may be requested for recording fees. The future possibilities for your interview are endless as it can be archived within the Library of Congress for generations down the line or it may air nationally on the radio. You may be asking yourself, what kind of stories is StoryCorps looking for? Inspiring stories. And the possibilities for those are quite endless.
Have you lived with a family member who has undergone Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia? Were you at Ground Zero on September 11th, 2001? Are you an African American with an amazing personal story to tell? Are you a recovering addict? A rape victim? The list goes on an on. Everyone has an inspiring story to tell, what’s your’s? Perhaps it’s time to pay a visit to the StoryBooth nearest you.