WJCT Public Media Partners with StoryCorps to Foster Conversations Across American Ideological Divides


WJCT Public Media

Neily Braren | 904.318.2633



FROM: WJCT Public Media / StoryCorps

Nationwide One Small Step Initiative offers opportunity for people to talk about life experiences that formed their values and to listen with respect

Northeast Florida Selected as 2020 Participating Community

In 2020, when Americans face challenges unlike any other time in our history, WJCT Public Media in partnership with StoryCorps, the national nonprofit dedicated to recording and preserving personal stories, are teaming up to invite people to take part in meaningful conversations that are recorded for history. With support from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, Northeast Florida is one of six locations across the country selected to take part in StoryCorps’ nationwide One Small Step initiative to facilitate and broadcast conversations with Americans of opposing viewpoints. With participant permission, these conversations are preserved for future generations at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. 

WJCT plans to broadcast edited versions of select submissions from its local communities.

“WJCT is excited to offer a shared virtual space in which people can learn through interacting with those who have different interests and life experiences,” said David McGowan, President & CEO of WJCT. “We’ve worked with StoryCorps in really inventive ways before, creating important experiences for participants and revealing content for listeners.  So we’re happy to continue the partnership with this project. ”  

“The pandemic has only exacerbated the divides in the United States,” said Dave Isay, Founder & President of StoryCorps. “At a moment of distancing, One Small Step gives us a rare chance to get proximate with people we may disagree with, and in doing so be reminded of our shared humanity.”

Launched by StoryCorps in 2018 in response to growing division in the country, One Small Step is a nationwide project that provides people who hold different views with the opportunity to take part in facilitated and recorded conversations—specifically to counteract intensifying hostility and to enable those who disagree to listen to each other with respect. Rather than spark additional political debates, One Small Step encourages answers to questions like, “Was there a moment, event, or person in your life that shaped your political views?” and “What scares you most when you think about the future?”

WJCT encourages residents of Northeast Florida to take part in this limited-time opportunity: 

  • Information about how to participate is at wjct.org/oss/.
  • In locations where COVID social distancing requirements remain in place, stations will use StoryCorps’ remote recording platform, which pairs two people for a conversation over video and hosted by a trained Facilitator. 

StoryCorps and WJCT’s partnership is a separately funded component of StoryCorps’ One Small Step program. One Small Step is supported by a broad coalition of government and philanthropic institutions, including the Fetzer Institute, The Wunderkinder Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Charles Koch Institute. Additional support is provided by the Newman-Tanner Foundation.


About WJCT:

WJCT is the community-owned and operated public media organization serving Jacksonville and the First Coast since 1958, using television, radio, digital media, and live events to help community members learn, share, and grow. For more information on WJCT’s in-depth programming content, log on to WJCT Online a wjct.org. Like WJCT on Facebook and follow WJCT on Twitter and Instagram.

About StoryCorps

Founded in 2003 by Dave Isay, StoryCorps has given people of all backgrounds and beliefs, in thousands of towns and cities in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. The organization preserves the recordings in its archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered, and shares select stories with the public through StoryCorps’ podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books. These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, wisdom and values; engender empathy and connection; and remind us how much more we have in common than what divides us. Learn more at storycorps.org 

Recording a StoryCorps interview couldn’t be easier. At one of our locations, you and a loved one, or anyone else you choose, are met by a trained facilitator who explains the interview process. You are then brought into a quiet recording room and seated across from your interview partner, each of you in front of a microphone. The facilitator hits “record,” and you share a 40-minute conversation. At the end of the session, you walk away with a copy of the interview, and a digital file goes to the Library of Congress, where it will be preserved for generations to come.

If you aren’t able to get to a recording booth or would prefer to do the interview at home, digital tools like the StoryCorps App or StoryCorps Connect serve as the facilitator, guiding users through the interview experience, from recording to archiving to sharing their stories with the world. It provides easy-to-­use tools to help people prepare interview questions; record high-­quality conversations on their mobile devices; and upload the audio to archive.storycorps.org, which serves as a home for these recordings and also provides interview and editing resources. Learn more at storycorps.org.

About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit cpb.org, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn and subscribe for other updates.

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