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Arts & Life


Mentors: A StoryCorps-Style Interview with Founder Dave Isay and TOL's Dave Miller

Dave Miller and Dave Isay

John Rosman / OPB

StoryCorps, whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives, has conducted more than 30,000 interviews with over 70,000 individuals across the nation.

The idea behind StoryCorps is simple: Two people sit down and talk to each other for 40 minutes and a facilitator helps record the interview. The participants receive a CD of the conversation, and a copy is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Some of the interviews are edited and broadcast on NPR.

As founder Dave Isay explained on Think Out Loud, something bigger than a conversation happens when two people sit down to record their stories.

“Many people think when they go into the interview… ‘If I had 40 minutes left to live, what would I want to say to this person?’ So [the interviews] are very intense… these stories very much remind us, in some ways, of the fragility of life and the importance of saying things to people who matter to us now, instead of waiting.”

Before StoryCorps, Dave Isay was creating radio documentaries for his company Sound Portraits, where he met and hired the future host of Think Out Loud, Dave Miller, then 24 years old.

After Dave Isay was interviewed by Dave Miller on Think Out Loud, the two Daves went into a sound booth and recorded their own StoryCorps-style conversation. The two talked about their three years working together, and how getting turned down for an internship at This American Life led Miller down the path of finding a career and mentor.

Click on the audio player in the right-hand sidebar to listen to the StoryCorps-style conversation between Dave Isay and Dave Miller.

Listen to the Think Out Loud interview with Dave Isay.

More to Explore

All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps, by Dave Isay

  • Isays’s new book shares stories of love and marriage, revealing the many and remarkable paths that relationships can take.
  • Visit website

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