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StoryCorps To Spend A Month Here: collecting stories for an oral history of America

StoryCorps, a national initiative to document everyday history and the unique stories of America, will be on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica from Monday, January 9 to Sunday, February 5 to collect stories from Southern Californians.

The StoryCorps MobileBooth, a state-of-the-art recording studio housed in a silver Airstream trailer, will be located at Wilshire Boulevard and Third Street.

StoryCorps is collaborating with KCRW-Santa Monica 89.9 FM to create special programming exclusively for the station, based on the stories collected here. Select segments from StoryCorps air nationally on Friday mornings, during National Public Radio’s Morning Edition (heard weekdays from 3 to 9 a.m. on KCRW).

People tell their stories to StoryCorps in tandem, with one person interviewing the other, and a trained facilitator guiding the pair through the interview and making the recording. At the end of a 40-minute session, participants receive a CD of their interview. With their permission, a second copy is sent to the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress where it becomes part of a high-quality, digital archive that will eventually grow into an oral history of America.

Created by radio documentary producer and MacArthur Genius Award recipient Dave Isay, StoryCorps has been on the road in America since May, recording stories.

To date, more than 3,000 stories have been recorded. StoryCorps expects to add another 150 stories while it’s in Santa Monica.

Ultimately, it anticipates collecting 250,000 stories over the next ten years.

It opened its first StoryBooth, a freestanding soundproof recording studio, in New York City’s Grand Central Station in October, 2003, and in June, 2005 it opened a second booth at the site of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

Over the course of the ten-year project, StoryCorps plans to open StoryBooths, both mobile and stationary, across the country.

Beginning January 2 at 10 a.m., people can visit StoryCorps.net to make interview reservations.

The website offers tips on how to prepare for the interviews, as well as opportunities to listen to excerpts of other stories told in the booth.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen the profound effect StoryCorps has had on the lives of those who have participated in the project, and we ve seen the power that these stories have had on the millions who have heard them on NPR and on the Web,” Isay said. “We believe that listening is an act of love. StoryCorps will engage communities, teach participants to become better listeners, foster intergenerational communication, and help Americans appreciate the strength in the stories of everyday people they find all around them.”

Ruth Seymour, KCRW’s General Manager, said, “Everybody has a story. And StoryCorps gives individuals the sense of affirming their life experience. Memorable moments, tragic moments and joyous ones all make up the human drama that StoryCorps helps memorialize. We’re delighted to be able to bring StoryCorps to Downtown Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, a place that celebrates the intermingling of people in a lively, vibrant way.”The StoryCorps national tour is sponsored by NPR, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Saturn Corporation, the automobile company.

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