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Valley Public Radio Partners With StoryCorps to Foster Conversations Across Ideological Divide

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StoryCorps One Small Step
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Credit StoryCorps

Valley Public Radio to participate in nationwide One Small Step Initiative, offering the opportunity for people to talk about life experiences that formed their values and to listen with respect.

San Joaquin Valley Selected as 2021 Participating Community

While Americans face challenges unlike any other time in our history, Valley Public Radio, in partnership with StoryCorps, the national nonprofit dedicated to recording and preserving personal stories, invites people to take part in meaningful conversations that are recorded for history. With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the San Joaquin Valley 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.

Valley Public Radio plans to broadcast edited versions of select submissions from its local communities.

“I am thrilled StoryCorps chose Valley Public Radio as one of the six locations nationwide to participate in the One Small Step initiative,” said Valley Public Radio News Director Alice Daniel. “Considering the strong political divide in our country, there's never been a better time for all of us to try to find some common ground, to really listen to those with different perspectives and to also ask ourselves what informs our values. Having produced audio segments from the StoryCorps San Joaquin recordings (made during the 2020 StoryCorps Mobile Tour in Bakersfield and Fresno), I know the positive impact intimate conversations can have on participants and the community. I look forward to seeing people in the San Joaquin Valley take those small steps to foster our humanity and help us understand each other better.”

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Credit StoryCorps One Small Step

“Recent polls demonstrate what most of us have already experienced first-hand: that there is a pervasive culture of contempt that threatens the very foundations of our democracy. According to a CBS News poll released earlier this year, more than half of all Americans say the greatest danger to America's way of life comes from their fellow citizens,” said Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps. “One Small Step aims to remind people of the humanity in all of us, and that it’s hard to hate up close. These communities can model this change for the rest of the country.”

"StoryCorps uses its innovative approach to sharing stories in its One Small Step Communities initiative to foster understanding and respect, even among people who deeply disagree,” said Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “By working with local public radio stations to connect people with different backgrounds and political beliefs, One Small Step is helping stations strengthen their communities, one step at a time. CPB is very pleased to support this effort.”

Launched by StoryCorps in 2018 in response to growing division in the country, One Small Step is a nationwide initiative that provides two strangers 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 partisan debates, One Small Step encourages answers to questions such as, “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?”

Valley Public Radio encourages residents of the San Joaquin Valley to take part in this limited-time opportunity:

  • Information about how to participate is at KVPR.org.
  • In locations where COVID social distancing requirements remain in place, Valley Public Radio will use StoryCorps’ remote recording platform, which pairs two strangers for a conversation over video and is hosted by a trained facilitator.

Valley Public Radio will also team up with a variety of community organizations to spread the word and will collaborate with StoryCorps to match participants and record conversations through the end of the year. The project will include a series of public listening events, streamed online, in fall 2021. Find out how your organization can partner with Valley Public Radio at KVPR.org.

Valley Public Radio’s participation in the One Small Step Communities project is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. StoryCorps' national One Small Step initiative is made possible by the generous support of The Hearthland Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Charles Koch Institute.

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Credit StoryCorps One Small Step

About Valley Public Radio

Valley Public Radio serves residents of Central California with NPR programming, local news, classical music and more. The station operates two programming services: KVPR (FM 89.3 in Fresno and FM 89.1 in Bakersfield) and KVPR Classical (FM 89.3 HD-2 in Fresno), as well as streaming and podcasts at KVPR.org and the KVPR app. For over 40 years, Valley Public Radio has been a leading source of news, information and music for listeners in Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Merced and Mariposa Counties. In 2019 the station was named California Non-Profit of the Year by State Senator Melissa Hurtado, and in 2021 received three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the RTDNA for news coverage.

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. 

StoryCorps is especially committed to capturing and amplifying voices least heard in the media. The StoryCorps MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer the organization has transformed into a traveling recording booth, crisscrosses the country year-round in order to gather the stories of people nationwide. There are also StoryBooths located in Chicago and Atlanta.

With the 2015 TED Prize awarded to Dave Isay, StoryCorps launched a free mobile app that puts the StoryCorps experience entirely in the hands of users and enables anyone, anywhere to record meaningful conversations with another person and upload the audio to the Library of Congress. The StoryCorps app serves 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.

StoryCorps recently launched StoryCorps Connect, a new video-based platform that makes it possible for two people in different locations to conduct a StoryCorps interview safely and remotely.

After recording a StoryCorps conversation via any of these methods, participants are emailed a link to their interview, and a digital file goes to the Library of Congress, where it will be preserved for generations to come.

StoryCorps is a national institution that fosters a culture of listening in the United States; celebrates the dignity, power, and grace that can be heard in the stories we find all around us; and helps us recognize that every life and every story matters equally. In the coming years, StoryCorps hopes to touch the lives of every American family.

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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 managed 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.