WUSF is excited to be one of just six public media stations selected nationwide to participate in a new StoryCorps’ initiative designed to reclaim America’s civil discourse. One Small Step aims to break down boundaries created by politics and remind us of our shared humanity.
Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and StoryCorps, One Small Step brings two people together who have differing political perspectives and asks them questions that reach the core of their beliefs, and the emotional experiences that brought them there.
The purpose of these interviews is to provide an opportunity for people to share personal feelings and experiences and to enable those who disagree to listen to each other with respect. Rather than spark additional political debates, One Small Step encourages answers to questions like, “Was there a moment, event, or person in your life that shaped your political views?” and “What scares you most when you think about the future?”
These kinds of questions help people discover the root of their own political stances on various issues. The format allows participants and listeners who may disagree on policy to understand better why others may feel differently. There is no blame, no right answer, only lived experiences that participants can share with one another.
StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay explains the importance of One Small Step, “Our nation is divided. Much of what is driving that division is fear, and a lack of understanding and empathy for those with whom we don’t agree. We hope that One Small Step will provide a beacon of hope during these difficult and divided days.”
One Small Step aims to remind us that we have more in common than divides us and that treating those with whom we disagree with decently and showing one another respect is essential to a functioning democracy. This initiative was born out of StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.
To date, StoryCorps has collected interviews with over 500,000 Americans. These conversations are then preserved for posterity at the Library of Congress, which is where the One Small Step stories will also be stored. In recent participant and listener surveys, 88 percent of participants said that StoryCorps made them feel “connected to people of different backgrounds”.
“Our station is honored to be a part of this very special and important initiative,” shared WUSF General Manager and Associate Vice President, JoAnn Urofsky. “We are excited that the people of Tampa Bay will have their voices represented on a national scale.”
WUSF is eager to hear from voices in the Tampa Bay and hopes to obtain a diverse selection of participants for One Small Step. All backgrounds and opinions are welcomed and encouraged. For those interested in participating please visit WUSF online at www.wusf.usf.edu and click on the “One Small Step” tile for more information.
About WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media is a comprehensive media organization that provides media services to the community and businesses through public broadcasting and multi-media production services. Licensed to the University of South Florida, WUSF Public Media serves the public interest through programming, educational outreach and community partnerships. For more information, visit www.wusf.org.
Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has given 500,000 people—people of all backgrounds and beliefs, in thousands of towns and cities in all 50 states—the chance to record interviews about their lives. The organization preserves the recordings in its special StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered, and shares select stories with the public through StoryCorps’ podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books. These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, wisdom and values; engender empathy and connection; and remind us how much more we have in common than divides us.
StoryCorps is especially committed to capturing and amplifying voices of everyday people least heard in the media. The StoryCorps MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer the organization has transformed into a traveling recording booth, crisscrosses the country year-round in order to gather the stories of people nationwide. With the 2015 TED Prize awarded to Dave Isay, StoryCorps launched a free mobile app that puts the StoryCorps experience entirely in the hands of users and enables anyone, anywhere to record meaningful conversations with another person and upload the audio to the Library of Congress. StoryCorps also records interviews in its permanent StoryBooths, in New York, Chicago and Atlanta.
Recording an interview in a StoryCorps booth couldn’t be easier: You invite a loved one, or anyone else you choose, to a StoryCorps recording site. There you’re met by a trained facilitator who explains the interview process, brings you into a quiet recording room and seats you across from your interview partner, each of you in front of a microphone. The facilitator hits “record,” and you share a 40-minute conversation. At the end of the session, you walk away with a copy of the interview, and a digital file goes to the Library of Congress, where it will be preserved for generations to come.
StoryCorps is working to grow into an enduring national institution that fosters a culture of listening in the United States; celebrates the dignity, power and grace that can be heard in the stories we find all around us; and helps us recognize that every life and every story matter equally. In the coming years StoryCorps hopes to touch the lives of every American family.