StoryCorps is a non-profit organization founded with a story-telling booth in Grand Central Station, New York City, in 2003 by Dave Isay that aims to share the stories of people to remind all of us in our society of our collective humanity. Specifically, StoryCorps states that their mission is to:
preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world
More broadly, StoryCorps seeks to “create a culture of listening.” They do this by sharing videos and podcasts through their website that showcase stories of people talking about a collective experience. For instance, they may do a series about love, in which participants share their stories of love. Or, they may do a series on parenthood, in which participants share their stories of being a parent. The stories can be found on their website through several navigational tools. You may just want to watch videos of the latest stories that were collected, or you may want to search for a collection of stories that speak to a specific topic. While the site does not specify who specifically runs, maintains, and designs the site, it is easy to find the leadership team and board members for StoryCorps, read brief descriptions of their role at StoryCorps and their biography within this type of community-engaged work. Further, it is transparent in who financially supports StoryCorps and the grants they have received to fund the website and the work of collecting and maintaining the stories. To be fair, it is a bit difficult to navigate to that information, although it is clearly marked and available. The stories are the focus of the website, not the funding. Thus, it requires clicking through multiple levels of the website to access this information. Although, even within that, it is clearly marked on how to navigate to their funding information.
The website is appealing and easy to navigate. It is quite simple to find your way through an archive of several video stories, link to the podcast, and search out the stories that you wish to engage with. While the flow of the website is easy and understandable, the presentation of the website is visually stimulating and easy to understand as well. It is easy to find what you are looking for and even the most novice of computer users can navigate through their website without issue. While engaging with the StoryCorps website on several occasions, I have never come across a broken link, missing information, or had the website freeze on me. It seems as though they have an appropriate bandwidth of space to handle and manage the videos of peoples’ stories with ease.
Overall, I am incredibly impressed with StoryCorps, both in how they present the material and the transparency of their mission. They aim to structure a digital environment that archives and showcases the stories, on a variety of topics, of human beings; shining a light on our collective humanity and the compassion we hold for all individuals. People they often feel dramatically different from us on the surface become quite close to us through the power of their stories.