At Echo, we’re totally inspired by StoryCorps, the oral history non-profit that just won this year’s TED Prize. TED curator Chris Anderson identified StoryCorps’ passion for storytelling as congruent with the aims and values of the TED conference itself; the $1 million prize is in its tenth year.
If you’re unfamiliar with StoryCorps, it is a project to get Americans to record their life stories for preservation in the Library of Congress. The stories are recorded in either permanent recording booths in Atlanta, San Francisco or Chicago, or in StoryCorps’ mobile recording studio. People agree to be recorded for very human reasons; to share a legacy with their family and to leave an artifact of their lives for posterity. The project has come a long way from their first booth in New York City’s Grand Central Station, but the project goal remains the same – listen and learn from all those around us, through the simple medium of conversation.
StoryCorps has partnered with NPR and PBS to make a few of its stories available for public consumption. Stories are either shared through the radio or in animated shorts. Stories are funny, heartbreaking and real. To get a taste of StoryCorps’ incredible archive, we recommend taking a peek at some of their animated shorts, available online. (Make sure you have the Kleenex handy.)
The TED Prize is given to projects that have real global significance, and some might wonder why recording life stories has global significance. The fact is, our stories unite us as human beings as they make sense of our world in a valuable and empowering way. Congratulations again to StoryCorps. We’re thrilled to see the value of story being celebrated, both at TED and in the lives of ordinary Americans.