StoryCorps, began when David Isay, a radio producer in New York, opened a booth in which people could listen to the stories of others. Isay, has the unique understanding that each person has an individual story or personal experience that has impacted them and influenced who they are today. This understanding as well as the conviction that that human beings need to hear each other’s tragedies, comedies, romances and horrors led Isay to establish Sound Portraits Productions in 2003. From there, the non-profit organization of StoryCorps was birthed.
StoryCorps is now the largest oral history archive in the world. It houses interviews, usually between two people who are close in some way, that represent an extremely diverse slice of America’s people. The interviews are more than just people talking about one another. These interviews explore the relationship between the two people and their individual as well as shared reactions to the world around them. Many of the interviews are touching, some are silly and all of them are truthful.
The organizations mission and vision is said loosely based on those of the 1930s WPA (Works Progress Administration). The efforts that StoryCorps has made in preserving the thoughts, feelings and reactions of America’s people to events of the last decade earned the organization two Peabody Awards as well as world-wide recognition.
Since Isay opened the first recording booth in 2003, StoryCorps has grown immensely. They now have StoryBooths, open-to-public recording studios, located in New York, San Francisco and Atlanta. They also have two converted Airstream recreational vehicles known as MobileBooths which travel the country collecting people’s stories. StoryCorps also collaborates with several organizations in order to bring programs and services, which complement the organizations mission, to the American people and to honor our heritage through the individualism which creates our beautifully diverse population.