National Day of Listening

StoryCorps and NPR (National Public Radio) have declared Friday after Thanksgiving “National Day of Listening”:

NOVEMBER 28, 2008
Acclaimed oral history project encourages Americans to interview a loved one the day after Thanksgiving

NEW YORK – StoryCorps, the most ambitious oral history project ever undertaken, will launch the first annual National Day of Listening on November 28, 2008.
On Thanksgiving, Americans and their loved ones gather to share a meal, express their gratitude and reminisce. On the day after Thanksgiving, this November 28, StoryCorps is asking Americans to linger a little longer in the Thanksgiving spirit and honor a loved one by conducting an interview about his or her life.
It takes only an hour to participate, using recording equipment readily available in most homes – from video cameras to tape recorders to computers or even pen and paper.

“Looking a loved one in the eyes and asking about his or her life is one of the greatest gifts we can give one another,” says StoryCorps founder and MacArthur “genius” Dave Isay. “The simple act of listening tells them how much they matter, and documenting that conversation for posterity tells them that they won’t be forgotten.”

StoryCorps encourages Americans to set aside time on November 28th to record a conversation with a grandparent, an aunt, a neighbor, a soldier or a client at a local soup kitchen. The not-for-profit has created a simple tool kit of easy-to-use instructions, pointers, and sample questions at

Sample questions from the website’s online Question Generator include: What is your happiest memory? What are you proudest of in your life? What is the most important lesson you’ve learned? How do you want to be remembered?

StoryCorps supplies tips for recording these interviews and simple instructions on how to archive and preserve them. For the National Day of Listening, StoryCorps will also recommend ways to upload and share stories online.

Over the past five years, StoryCorps has recorded more than 20,000 interviews with more than 40,000 individuals in fifty states across the nation. Each week, millions of Americans listen to StoryCorps’ award-winning broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Fifty of StoryCorps’ most emblematic stories have been collected in the New York Times bestseller Listening Is an Act of Love, which has just been released as a Penguin paperback.

The Library of Congress and NPR are the partners of this year’s National Day of Listening.

About StoryCorps
StoryCorps is the largest oral history project ever undertaken. Founded in 2003 by Dave Isay, StoryCorps gives pairs of participants the opportunity to leave a legacy in sound for future generations. Across the country, everyday people have visited our soundproof booths to record a 40-minute interview with a loved one. One copy of the interview goes home with the participants on a CD, a second copy goes to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. To date, StoryCorps has recorded more than 20,000 audio interviews with 40,000 participants. Excerpts of select stories are broadcast weekly on NPR’s Morning Edition. For its ground-breaking public service, StoryCorps was awarded a special Institutional Peabody Award in 2007, an honor bestowed only once or twice a decade.
Special initiatives launched by StoryCorps include the Griot Project, the largest African American oral history project since the WPA Slave Narratives of the 1930s (in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture); The September 11th Project, an effort to record at least one interview to commemorate each life lost on 9/11 (in collaboration with the National September 11 Memorial and Museum); and the Memory Loss Initiative, which brings StoryCorps to individuals, families and caregivers struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.

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