StoryCorps founder David Isay wins 2015 TED Prize

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StoryCorps founder David Isay has won the 2015 TED Prize, which gives him $1 million to fulfill a “wish” of his choice.

Isay (Photo via Flickr/American Library Association)

Isay (Photo via Flickr/American Library Association)

Isay will present his wish March 17 at the 2015 TED conference in Vancouver, Canada. Past winners include Bono, who devoted his prize to fighting poverty in Africa; Bill Clinton, who aided health access initiatives in Rwanda; and chef Jamie Oliver, who used his funds for his Food Revolution program combating diet-related diseases.

TED Curator Chris Anderson said, “On the tenth anniversary of the TED prize, it seems fitting that TED — an organization whose central mission is to spread ideas and empower storytellers — is honoring a storytelling pioneer.”

Launched in 2003, StoryCorps has collected more than 50,000 interviews from about 100,000 Americans. For each interview, two people with a close connection — family members, friends, work colleagues — go into a room with a mediator and record a 40-minute conversation. StoryCorps runs recording facilities in Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco.

Participants get a copy of their recording, and copies are also filed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Some of the stories routinely reduce commuters to tears as segments on NPR’s Morning Edition. Others have been made into animated shorts and compiled in bestselling books.

Isay has not announced his wish, but in an interview with The New York Times, he said he hoped the prize could bring StoryCorps to more people.