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April 1, 2010
By Claudene Wharton
Nevadans' love for storytelling goes back to the days of cowboys sitting around the campfire, spinning their tales and sharing their life experiences. Our Native Americans also have a rich tradition of handing down their stories from generation to generation. Nevadans are encouraged to carry on these traditions by sharing and recording their stories with a family member, friend or co-worker, with help from KUNR public radio, the University’s Oral History Program, StoryCorps staff and other community partners.
StoryCorps – Sign-ups begin 10 a.m., April 8
StoryCorps, a national initiative to record the stories of everyday Americans, arrives in Reno April 22 for a month-long stay to collect local stories as part of its cross-country tour. Conversations featuring pairs of people from our area — up to 120 total interviews — will be captured in StoryCorps’ MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer with a recording studio. A facilitator guides participants through the interview process and handles the technical aspects.
At the end of the 40-minute recording session, participants receive a CD of their interview. With their permission, a second copy is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for future generations to hear. KUNR will air edited versions of some interviews, and some interviews may be selected to air nationally on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. StoryCorps’ Reno visit ends May 15.
“Today’s society is very enamored with celebrities and the movers and shakers, but some of the most powerful stories come from the people just down the street,” David Stipech, general manager of KUNR, said. “That’s the beauty of what StoryCorps is going to do – facilitate the conversation to get stories told that wouldn’t be told otherwise.”
To sign up to record at the StoryCorps' MobileBooth, beginning 10 a.m., April 8, call 1-800-850-4406. Appointments are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. When all appointments are booked, interested parties can put their names on a waiting list. Participants are asked to make a donation to support the program, but donations are not required. A credit card must be given to reserve a spot, however, to try to prevent no-shows. No-shows will be charged $25 if they do not cancel their reservations at least 24 hours prior to their appointment.
Hosted by KUNR public radio and sponsored by the University of Nevada, Reno; the City of Reno; Plaza On The River; and Nevada Humanities, Nevadans are invited to take advantage of this rare opportunity to preserve their stories and have them archived in the Library of Congress. For more information or to listen to stories online, visit kunr.org.
Learn how to record your own histories: Oral History Workshops April 17, May 1, June 12
The University’s Oral History Program will hold three community workshops on “How to Plan and Conduct Your Own Oral Histories,” 1 – 3 p.m., April 17, May 1, and June 12, at the University’s Joe Crowley Student Union.
These three identical workshops will provide direction on how to record oral histories of family and friends in order to preserve stories for future generations. Topics will include how to prepare for an interview, how to generate interview questions, how to conduct the interview, what recording equipment to use, and what might be done with completed recordings.
“Interest in oral history has been rising in recent years with the increasing popularity of genealogy, Web sites like Ancestry.com, and radio programs such as StoryCorps,” said the program’s director, Alicia Barber. “Recording the firsthand recollections of family and friends is one of the most effective ways to ensure that our community’s history is preserved and passed along.”
To attend one of the workshops, call (775) 784-6932 to register. The fee is $20 for one person or $30 for two people attending together. Payment can be made by credit card over the phone, or by cash or check on the day of attendance. For more information, call (775) 784-6932 or go to University of Nevada Oral History Program.
KUNR is licensed to the Nevada System of Higher Education and has broadcast from the University campus since 1963.
StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project in partnership with National Public Radio and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Established in 1964 and now housed in the Department of History at the University of Nevada, Reno, the Oral History Program has produced an extensive oral history collection documenting the history and culture of Nevada and the Intermountain West.