NEW YORK – July 14, 2015 – StoryCorps, a pioneering online oral history project, will improve its StoryCorps mobile app and build its reach with $600,000 in new support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The app allows people worldwide to record meaningful conversations with one another and participate in creating a global archive of “the wisdom of humanity.”
“StoryCorps expands its efforts to collect the stories of our lives” by Dave Isay on Knight Blog
Since Dave Isay founded StoryCorps in 2003, the organization has provided more than 100,000 Americans with access to a quiet booth and platform to record and share interviews about their lives. The new app puts the StoryCorps experience in the hands of mobile users, enabling anyone, anywhere to record conversations capturing life events, insights and observations. Conversations will be archived at the U.S. Library of Congress and when recorded via the app, also on the StoryCorps.me website.
A 2014 Prototype Fund grant from Knight Foundation enabled StoryCorps to begin developing the app. With the TED Prize awarded to Isay earlier this year, StoryCorps created a public beta version of the app and launched it during Isay’s TED Talk on March 17, 2015.
“Knight Foundation support for the prototype helped us test ideas and move the app to a stage that it was ready to build out. Since its launch in March, more than 200,000 users have downloaded it,” said Isay. “New support will allow StoryCorps to realize the full potential of this powerful tool and to advance our vision to help create a world where we listen closely to each other and recognize the beauty, grace and poetry in the lives and stories we find all around us.”
Knight Foundation support will enable StoryCorps to introduce enhancements, strengthening the future of the app and exploring ways to integrate it into existing StoryCorps programs and services. Technology enhancements may include: support for Skype, improved language features and social network sharing, compatibility with multiple operating systems and better browsing and navigation across platforms. To expand the app’s reach, community engagement programs will be introduced along with ways to use the archived stories to support wider research and study.
“Technology has made it possible for people everywhere to capture and share local knowledge widely, enriching our history and helping to build stronger, more informed communities,” said John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation. “Today StoryCorps makes it even easier for people to shape our world through storytelling.”
The StoryCorps app guides users through the interview experience, from recording to archiving to sharing their stories with the world. It provides easy-to-use tools to help people prepare interview questions; record high-quality conversations on their mobile devices; and upload the audio to the StoryCorps.me website, which serves as a home for these recordings and also provides interviewing and editing resources. Additionally, the app allows users to send their interviews directly to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for archiving.
StoryCorps has gathered the largest collection of human voices ever recorded. Isay envisions the app taking StoryCorps from the 100,000 interviews already collected across America, to millions recorded around the world.
Visit StoryCorps.me for more information about StoryCorps and to download the app.
Founded in 2003 by MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, the nonprofit organization StoryCorps has given more than 100,000 Americans the chance to record interviews about their lives.
At the heart of StoryCorps is a simple, timeless idea: provide two friends or loved ones with a quiet space and 40 minutes of uninterrupted time for a meaningful face-to-face conversation; record that conversation; give participants a copy of their interview; and archive another copy at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress where it will be preserved for generations to come. StoryCorps seeks out the stories of people most often excluded from the historical record and preserves them so that the experience and wisdom contained within them may be passed from one generation to the next.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.
Blake Zidell, StoryCorps, 718-643-9052, [email protected].
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]