The Man Behind StoryCorps


About 60,000 people have interviewed family members, partners, and friends to record oral histories with StoryCorps. I’m one of those people. In 2009 I interviewed my husband, asking him questions about how we met, his favorite memory of me, and what he was most proud of me for. Even though I hate the sound of my recorded voice, that interview is a treasure. StoryCorps does beautiful work documenting snippets of our lives in our own words.

The Millions has an interview with the man behind StoryCorps, founder Dave Isay, who says of the StoryCorps experience:

“You’re in this sacred space. The facilitator’s in the corner, in front of two CD burners, and you sit in front of a microphone at a little table across from a loved one and you look one another in the eyes and you just talk, ask questions, listen, for forty minutes. Most people ask those big life questions…It’s common for people to start crying when the CD burners start going, especially the intergenerational interviews. I mean, we live in a society that moves so fast, the act of stopping and turning off your computer and your cell phone and looking someone in the eye and telling them how much they matter to you and that you love them by listening to them is a profound act. So you often see grandparents starting to cry once they’ve been interviewed by a grandkid.”

Also, check out the animated versions of some actual StoryCorps interviews here.

LaToya Jordan is a writer from Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, Thick-Skinned Sugar (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and her work has been listed as notable in Best American Essays 2016. Her writing has appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Mom Egg Review, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, and more. Visit her at More from this author →