Get your stories ready, because StoryCorps is in Las Vegas.
Danielle Anderson is the associate director of StoryCorp’s Mobile tour.
"Basically, what we're trying to do is provide spaces for people to have meaningful conversations with people they care about or want to know more about and to have those conversations be recorded and preserved," Anderson said.
She said each conversation lasts about 40 minutes, and they're facilitated by a trained staff member. The conversations are then archived at the Library of Congress so future generations will be able to listen to them.
Once a week, with the participant's permission, StoryCorps edits down a conversation to just a couple of minutes and airs it on NPR's Morning Edition on Fridays.
Anderson each year they partner with 10 public radio stations to bring the StoryCorps experience to their community, and this year, Las Vegas was one of those communities.
"This is actually our third time in Las Vegas and we're actually thrilled to be back," she said, "It's been quite some time since we've been here."
She said in a different year the StoryCorps team would be there with its Airstream trailer and a mobile recording unit, but since that wasn't going to be possible, they developed an online platform that mirrors that experience.
"There are benefits and drawbacks to everything and we're all learning so much during this time," Anderson said, "We're certainly missing being on the ground. We're missing being in a community with people. We're missing being face to face and getting that experience part of it."
Despite that, she said there have been some surprising benefits to doing it virtually, including the ability to go into people's homes in a way and people are able to record from the comfort of their own homes.
"We're also able to expand the experience out," she said, "So, people can actually have these conversations with loved ones or friends, family that don't live in the same place as them," she said.
They can now record those conversations in a way that they haven't before.
There are no rules about who can participate and there is no agenda about what people talk about, Anderson said, they just want it to be meaningful for them.
"I think the first step is who you might want to have this conversation with. Who you might want to share this time with," she said, "And then reaching out to that person to see if they want to do this with you."
Before she became the director of the mobile tour, Anderson was a facilitator for the conversations and directed people through the experience.
Needless to say, she's hard a lot of stories, but she can't explain what makes one story better than another.
"Honestly, I think I learned something from each and every one of them," she said, "Each of us carries stories around in us. Each of us carries around the wisdom of our lived experience and there is something really special about people coming to the booth willing to share that with us."
She said that willingness to be open and share is really what makes a good story and a good recording. Plus, there is no right or wrong way to have a conversation about something important to you with someone important to you.
"I did one of these with my father years ago and it went very differently than I expected and there is something about it that made it so special because of that," Anderson said, "I think those are the conversations that really stick with me."
Danielle Anderson, associate director, StoryCorp Mobile tour
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