CAMP 2017: StoryCorps Project records mosaic of conversations

JAWS CAMP 2017 l

Story by Mia Warren, 2017 JAWS Fellow | Photo by Erica Yoon, CAMP photographer

In her 20s, Karen Michel moved to an Eskimo village in Alaska to teach art. The transplanted New Yorker didn’t know a thing about producing radio. That didn’t stop her from applying for a job at a station in Fairbanks.

“I knew some of the terminology — output, input,” Karen recalled. Her confidence that day jump-started what would become a nearly 30-year award-winning career in audio storytelling.

As journalists, we amplify the voices of others. It’s easy to forget that we have a wealth of experience to share with the world. But that’s what I learned as a CAMP fellow sharing meals and conversation with CAMP attendees.

At CAMP 2017, Jane Isay and I presented a new storytelling initiative, JAWSTalks, for JAWS members to capture and preserve their oral histories for posterity. Using the StoryCorps app, we hope to create a mosaic of conversations celebrating women pioneers in journalism.

“JAWSTalks creates the opportunity for all of us to share our stories, our dreams, and the problems we have faced,” Jane said.

StoryCorps was founded in 2003 by Jane’s son, Dave Isay. To date, the organization has recorded over 70,000 conversations with more than 100,000 participants from all walks of life.

During my presentation, I shared a few classic StoryCorps clips, including the inimitable Kay Wang and a sweet conversation between Kara Masteller and her grandpa. The latter was recorded on the StoryCorps app in a Waterloo, Iowa, parking lot — a reminder that professional studio space isn’t necessary for an amazing interview.

We already know that storytelling has the potential to spark positive change. By sharing our personal stories, we celebrate trailblazers in the industry — and in turn, inspire young journalists who are just beginning their careers. Sharing our experiences is also a way to build trust outside the newsroom and within our larger communities.

JAWSTalks “will encourage, inspire and educate. So do it, ladies,” said Jane.

Launched in 2015, the StoryCorps app was developed to make the StoryCorps recording experience more accessible. Since then, more than 250,000 people have recorded and uploaded their stories to the StoryCorps Archive, an online collection of app interviews.

Recording is easy, and the app walks you through the process from start to finish. Once you download the app to your phone, log into your account and record your interview. Share it by publishing on the StoryCorps Archive.

Recording is easy, and the app walks you through the process from start to finish. Once you download the app to your phone, log into your account and record your interview. Share it by publishing on the StoryCorps Archive.

Tips on using StoryCorps

  • You can keep your conversation private or upload it to the StoryCorps Archive.
  • Uploaded stories are archived with StoryCorps and the Library of Congress.
  • The app provides prompts and suggested questions to ask your partner.
  • A built-in timer helps with pacing of conversations. There’s a 40-minute time limit, but you can record multiple interviews if you want to talk more.
  • You can pause recording if you need a break. However, we recommend stopping the interview and starting a “part two” for longer breaks. If you close the app or your phone turns off while an interview is paused, it won’t save what you’ve already recorded.
  • After recording, give your interview a title, description, keywords, and add it to the JAWSTalks Community.

For more information, visit support.storycorps.me or email contactus@storycorps.org.