Free Online Platform Developed in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Powered by Vonage Aims to Counteract the Isolating Effects of Social Distancing
StoryCorps, the national non-profit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of people of all backgrounds and beliefs, today launches StoryCorps Connect, a new free platform to engage Americans in StoryCorps interviews conducted and recorded remotely.
Powered by global business cloud communications provider, Vonage (NASDAQ: VG), through the Vonage Video API, StoryCorps Connect is a public service platform to bring loved ones together amidst a global public health crisis. StoryCorps Connect aims to connect generations, offer a source of comfort and meaning to elders who may feel isolated and alone, and, in the process, preserve the wisdom of humanity. StoryCorps Connect launched today at www.storycorpsconnect.orgin public beta.
Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has brought more than 600,000 Americans together—two at a time—to record intimate, face-to-face conversations about their lives, create human connection, pass wisdom from one generation to the next, and leave a legacy for the future. It is the largest single collection of voices ever gathered. The organization began developing StoryCorps Connect in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, motivated by the belief that at this time of physical separation, StoryCorps can provide a critical public service to increase connection to others and reduce the impact of isolation, particularly on vulnerable populations in this country.
Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps, said, “Social distancing is the exact opposite of the StoryCorps ethos, which strives to bring people together and acknowledge and celebrate our common humanity. At this time of physical separation, the StoryCorps interview methodology is a more essential tool than ever before for bringing us together.”
StoryCorps is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people.
“Our nation’s young people care about the plight of seniors in isolation, sometimes without family with which to connect,” said Pat Harrison, CPB President and CEO. “CPB is proud to support StoryCorps Connect—America’s virtual storytelling peace corps, to ensure that at this tragic time in America’s history, we are able to meaningfully connect with one another.”
StoryCorps Connect uses advanced online videoconferencing technology built using the Vonage Video API and wraparound instructional tools to give participants a free, high-quality platform to record StoryCorps conversations remotely. The conversations become instantly accessible and shareable through StoryCorps’ Online Archiveand are preserved for future generations at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
“The nation is facing an extraordinary crisis and collectively facing a defining moment,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Americans are resilient and we will come out of this stronger with stories that will highlight our spirit and strength.”
“At Vonage, we believe in the power of communication to connect people and we work everyday to build solutions that do just that,” said Omar Javaid, President of Vonage’s API Platform Group. “We’re proud to support StoryCorps Connect through the use of our Video API, which makes it easy to build a custom video experience within any mobile, web or desktop application. During this challenging time when people want to be together but social distancing is the best thing for everyone, Vonage and StoryCorps are bringing people together around the world. We feel good to be a part of that.”
StoryCorps is working with national partners, public media organizations, school districts, teachers, and others across the country to bring StoryCorps Connect to the American people, and to call on the country to honor the stories of our elders at this momentous point in our history. While StoryCorps is a U.S.-based effort, StoryCorps Connect interviews can be conducted by anyone, anywhere in the world.
Founded in 2003 by Dave Isay, StoryCorps has given 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 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 what divides us.
StoryCorps is especially committed to capturing and amplifying voices 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 StoryBooths located in Chicago and Atlanta.
Recording a StoryCorps interview couldn’t be easier. At one of our locations, you and a loved one, or anyone else you choose, are met by a trained facilitator who explains the interview process. You are then brought into a quiet recording room and seated 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.
If you aren't able to get to a recording booth or would prefer to do the interview at home, the StoryCorps app serves as the facilitator, guiding 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 archive.storycorps.org which serves as a home for these recordings and also provides interview and editing resources.
StoryCorps is a 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 matters equally. In the coming years StoryCorps hopes to touch the lives of every American family.
About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit cpb.org, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebookand LinkedInand subscribefor other updates.
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