StoryCorps Project Wins Peabody Award

Posted April 10, 2007 at 5:21pm

StoryCorps, the national project that records oral histories of people around the country, won the Institutional Award at the 66th annual Peabody Awards. The project brings booths across the country where participants can record broadcast-quality interviews.

StoryCorps “is about going into communities and gathering everyday stories that doesn’t usually get captured by historians,” said Peggy Bulger, director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, which will store the interviews collected through the project.

Clips of interviews, with themes ranging from love and marriage to war and loss, regularly are broadcast across the country.

The project “is absolutely one of the best ways to use broadcasting journalism, especially with a project that is actually documenting American life and history,” she said.

Bulger said the recorded oral histories from the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s, also available at the American Folklife Center, inspired StoryCorps. StoryCorps began in 2003 when its creator, David Isay, placed recording booths at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Isay has won four Peabody Awards in the past two decades for his work with radio documentaries.

Isay “takes a very simple idea and shows people how important their own stories are,” Bulger said.

The American Folklife Center at the Library, which seeks to preserve and present information about life in America, currently is working to archive more than 9,000 interviews collected from StoryCorps.

— Marnette Federis