Study Guide: Listening Is an Act of Love

A. Understanding the StoryCorps Context


Introduction (pp.1 – 4)
Author’s Note (p. 5)
Home and Family (p. 9)
Work and Dedication (pp. 55 – 56)
Journeys (pp. 103 – 104)
History and Struggle (pp. 163 – 164)
Fire and Water (pp. 203 – 206)
The Story of StoryCorps (pp. 249 – 266)
Afterword (pp. 267 – 270)

Scan the above sections of the book to learn about the StoryCorps Project. Take notes by using the cues that are given.


Introduction (pp.1 – 4)

The four basic ideas that are the foundation of StoryCorps:

Participating in the StoryCorps process:

Launching of StoryCorps:



3. WHO:


Since the launching:


Author’s Note (p. 5)


Home and Family (p. 9)

Three great themes of human existence of all StoryCorps interviews:



Work and Dedication (pp. 55 – 56)

Qualifications of facilitators:


What facilitators have learned from their StoryCorps service:



Journeys (pp. 103 – 104)

Library of Congress

2. NPR


History and Struggle (pp. 163 – 164)

Reason for creation of StoryCorps:

Eventual effect of the project:

Reversal in the way HISTORY is told:

Fire and Water (pp. 203 – 206)

July 2005:

Special slots

2. “Bearing witness”


September 2006:

2. Tommy Sullivan/sister Norene and mother Arlene


Late 2005 and May 2006:


2. WHO:


The Story of StoryCorps (pp. 249 – 270)

Dave Isay’s life as a kid in New Haven in the early 1970s:

Parents had

2. Grandmother Rose Franzblau

3. At age 13

1988:Change in direction in life from



Store for addicts in recovery

2. Angel and Carmen Perez (their hope and dream)

3. Yellow Pages

4.  Amy Goodman, from WBAI

5.  Tape recorder

6.  Gary Covino, NPR


Focus in life as a young radio producer:

“Ghetto Life 101”

2. Isay’s Epiphany

3. Impact on Isay of Series of Interviews from the 1930s and 1940s (Works Projects Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project)

4. Insight achieved from radio documentary on the last flophouses in the Bowery

Birth of StoryCorps in Summer 2002: 

1.  Change in focus in traditional documentary work from


2.  Figuring out the details – NEED FOR:



3.  Peggy Bulger, Director of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Piloting in early 2003

Uncle Sandy’s character

2. Uncle Sandy’s reaction

Concerns at the beginning of the project:





First successes in October 2003:

1. Facilitator about interview with a husband and wife

2. 89-year-old grandmother and her 23-year-old grandson


NPR in May 2005:

Facilitators’ view of “the magic of the booth”

Appeal of the “citizen interview”

Louisa Stephens

Costs and Quest for Funding

Danny and Annie Perasa

Louisa Stephens


Afterword (pp. 267 – 270)

Dave Isay’s hope and view of the potential of StoryCorps