Team Awesome

StoryCorps Research [Assignment 1]

18, نوفمبر 2010


In 2003, StoryCorps was founded by MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay with the help of Sound Portraits Productions. StoryCorps gives people the equipment to record their lives, in the form of interviews or stories told to one another. The recordings are on public radio, online, and through weekly podcasts, and books (Listening Is an Act of Love). Once per week, segments are broadcasted on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Also, the stories are also archived in the Library of Congress and other archives around the nation. Since late 2009, StoryCorps has recorded interviews from more than fifty thousand people in every state in the USA.




Door-to-Door is the newest way of collecting interviews. It is also growing to be the most popular. With Door-to-Door, Facilitators visit community organizations, and the like, with sound equipment in hand. People are then interviewed in a quiet room somewhere in the facility. The Door-to-Door service “is the centerpiece of [the] Earned Income Plan and the primary way [StoryCorps] carr[ies] out funded Initiatives.”

GOAL: Collect more than 10,000 Door-to-Door interviews through 2014.


During every three to six week stop, the MobileBooths, or moving soundproof recording studios, pair up with local radio stations and broadcast interviews. Since the MobileBooth method has been in effect, they have recorded in 48 states (not Alaska or Hawaii). StoryCorps uses “support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a corporate sponsorship secured in partnership with National Public Radio.”

GOAL: Increase the capacity of our existing MobileBooths, allowing them to collect more than 14,000 interviews through 2014.


StoryBooths are soundproof recording studios with Faclitators and a Site Supervisor to help with the recording process. Though there are only StoryBooths in New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta, when working part-time, they each can collect over 500 interviews per year. GOAL: Operate and sustain one StoryBooth in each of four U.S. regions, collecting more than 10,000 interviews through 2014.



Interviews can either be done at an official StoryCorps site, or by following the instructions of the DIY guide. These interviews are then admitted into the StoryCorps archives.

Edited Stories

People can watch, listen to, or read the stories of others, which have been edited from the interviews. These stories are the most effective way to reach people, since they are on the radio, television, and even in school curriculum.


All the stories are archived on the internet, so everyone can listen to them. It is a way to connect the future generations.

People Involved

Executive Team

Administration Staff
Business Development Staff
Community Outreach Staff
Development Staff
Finance Staff
Human Resources Staff
IT Staff
Marketing & Communications Staff
Mobile Staff
Participant Relations Staff
Print & Animation Staff
Production Staff
Recording & Archive Staff
StoryBooth & Door-to-Door Staff


Current Initiatives

Griot collects African-American stories. Griot works with the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture

Memory Loss Initiative collects the stories of those with memory loss

September 11th Initiative collects stories centered around the tragedy of September 11, 2001. This initiative works with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

StoryCorps Historias collects stories of Latinos around the United States.

Future Initiatives

End-of-Life / Hospice Initiative
Prison Initiative
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) Initiative
Muslim-American Initiative
An Initiative to collect stories of people with cancer or other diseases
Asian-American Initiative
Veterans Initiative
Native American Initiative
Bar and Bat Mitzvah Initiative


Digital vs. Traditional Archiving

Most people associate archiving with books, collections, and libraries. StoryCorps takes archiving to a new level by taking history and recording it digitally. This seems very efficient and a lot easier than traditional archiving, however, a lot of people are uneasy about the technology involved. People who are less advanced in new technologies have trouble trusting that the history is safe in digital format.

Accessibility vs. Internet

How easy is it really to use StoryCorps? It is certainly easy to go online and listen to different people’s stories and interviews, but not all of them are as accessible as others. I have never tried to go record a story, but the company tries really hard to make it easily accessible to the public. Examples of this effort are the mobile booths and story booths. They have their story booths in highly populated cities like New York and San Francisco.

Ten Thousand Villages & StoryCorps

10, نوفمبر 2010

Ten Thousand Villages

“One day all artisans in the developing countries will earn a fair wage, be treated with dignity and respect and be able to live a life of quality.”

Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organization that helps artisans across the globe earn a fair wage. The program helps Third World people by sharing their stories and marketing their handcrafts in North America. The majority of items they sell are jewelry, home decor, and gifts, all of which handmade. The fair trade purchases made by Americans help artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The income helps provide them with food, education, health care, and housing.

The shopping experience in a Ten Thousand Villages store is one of a kind. The artifacts for sale are imported from all over the world and support a multitude of personal styles. The sales staff and volunteers are passionate about both the products and the mission that support their retail stores. There is currently a national retail network of 75 stores, along with multiple sales channels, Festival Sales, and a comprehensive e-commerce website.

We chose this project because of the people supported mission behind the program. It is interesting to investigate how an organization in North America can impact help artisans from all over the world. Ten Thousand Villages changes the lives of people who are not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Negotiations: Region vs. Accessibility, Social Class vs. Income, Fair Trade vs. Retail


“By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this great nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how truly great it is to be alive.”

-Dave Isay, Founder, StoryCorps

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization that records oral interviews of people telling their life stories. Since 2003, StoryCorps has recorded more than 30,000 interviews, which they submit to the Library of Congress on CDs that are available to the world.

StoryCorps began in 2003, when they opened a “StoryBooth” in Grand Central Terminal in New York. They then moved to “MobileBooths,” which traveled across the States. Through the years, they have had special interviews with those affected by September 11th,, those affected by memory loss, African Americans, Latinos, and more. StoryCorps continued to open StoryBooths across the nation, including one in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2008 and 2010, StoryCorps released two New York Times best selling books, Listening Is an Act of Love and Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from Storycorps.

We chose to blog about StoryCorps because they process and organize individual, oral history. We found this organization significant because it gives illiterate people an opportunity to pass on their stories. When we think of design, we typically think of product design, not design of history documentation.

Negotiations: Interviewers vs. Interviewees, Oral Stories vs. Listeners, Accessibility of the website to users