Was there a moment, event, or person in your life that shaped your political views?
What’s most hurtful to you about what people across the political divides say about people on your side?
Can you think of any traits you admire in people on the other side of the political divide?
These are the types of questions you could be asked and have a chance to answer if you are chosen to participate in One Small Step, a national project launched by StoryCorps to break down boundaries created by politics. WBHM is excited to be one of just six stations from across the United Stated chosen to participate in this exciting initiative.
In this time of national divide and discord, we are inviting people with different political viewpoints to record StoryCorps conversations with each other. We are doing this to help people understand each other as human beings and remember our common humanity. Your willingness to get to know someone different form you through these conversations represents One Small Step that may help to disrupt disconnections and reduce isolation that some are feeling in our country. These conversations are not meant to be debates over particular beliefs, but a chance to share stories of life experiences that have shaped your political beliefs and listen to those of your conversation partner. Each conversation that is recorded will be preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
For example, Cheraton Love identifies as liberal, and her father-in-law, Jim White, identifies as conservative. Cheraton invited Jim to have a conversation at his home in Silver Valley, North Carolina about some of things that are most important to them, and how they don’t let their differences pull their family apart.
And here they are talking about their experience along with David Isay, founder of StoryCorps, on GMA.
DON’T raise your voice, name call, or interrupt your interview partner.
DO listen. Remember, listening is not about being quiet—it’s about being present and curious.
REMEMBER This is a two-way conversation. Be prepared to ask—as well as answer—questions. We suggest you don’t debate political issues. This is not about arguing over a position; rather, it’s about talking and listening to one another as human like these folks did:
WHOM SHOULD I BRING TO THE INTERVIEW? WBHM will use a screening survey to find a partner for you for the interview, unless you have been instructed otherwise. Fill out the survey here!
HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR MY INTERVIEW? StoryCorps sessions are not scripted and are intended to be natural conversations. It is a good idea to spend some time before your interview thinking about what questions you want to ask or topics you want to explore. While we will provide some suggested questions, you are welcome to consider bringing your own list questions. Don’t over-prepare though. Just come ready to be yourself.
HOW LONG IS THE INTERVIEW? The interview itself is approximately 40 minutes long. There is some paperwork you will need to fill out before and after the interview, so the entire process takes about one hour.
IS STORYCORPS STAFF PRESENT DURING THE RECORDING SESSION? A trained Facilitator is present throughout the entire interview process and handles all technical aspects of the recording. Facilitators also help ensure that you have a comfortable and meaningful experience.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY INTERVIEW AFTER THE RECORDING SESSION? With your permission, a copy of the interview will be archived with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Within a few weeks of your interview, you will receive a digital download link of the audio. We encourage you to make copies of your interview to share with your friends, family, and colleagues.
WILL MY STORY BE EXCERPTED FOR THE PUBLIC TO HEAR? With permission from participants, WBHM or StoryCorps may choose to edit your conversation for broadcast. However, only a very small percentage of recordings are ever broadcast on the radio.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO PARTICIPATE? You may participate free of charge.
WHAT IF I DO NOT WANT MY STORY TO BE ARCHIVED? If you do not sign the release form, you will receive the audio, the interview will not be archived, and we will not keep a copy. Regardless of whether or not you sign the release form, each interview participant will receive the audio of the conversation to share with family and friends.
StoryCorps is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. Since 2003, over 400,000 people have shared life stories with family and friends through StoryCorps. As part of our signature service, participants receive a copy of their new recording to share and, with permission, StoryCorps sends a second copy to the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts at STORYCORPS.ORG and on NPR’s Morning Edition. We also create award-winning animations that are viewed online and via public and digital media. To learn more about StoryCorps, please visit https://storycorps.org/about.