StoryCorps founder David Isay wins 2015 TED Prize

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

New York Public Radio, StoryCorps among 2014 Knight Prototype grantees

A rejiggered phone booth from New York Public Radio, a mobile app produced by StoryCorps and a public-records data tool from the founder of FOIA Machine are among the 16 recipients of grants from this year’s Knight Foundation Prototype Fund. The foundation’s annual contest awards six-month, $35,000 grants to help recipients develop early-stage media ideas. Winners were announced Thursday. “While six months and a $35,000 grant might not always be enough to finish version one of a project, it can go a long way towards validating an assumption, developing a minimum viable product or identifying a need to revise an approach,” Chris Barr, a media innovation associate with Knight, wrote in a release. This year’s pubmedia and nonprofit media prototype grant winners include:

Talk Box, a New York Public Radio project to turn select New York City phone booths into “a direct, two-way line to the New York Public Radio newsroom.”
DIY StoryCorps, a mobile app from StoryCorps that will allow users to record and upload stories on their own, without visiting a StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps launches initiative to collect LGBT oral history

The oral-history project StoryCorps is expanding its vast archive of Americans’ personal stories with OutLoud, a special initiative focusing on the LGBTQ community. In particular, OutLoud is seeking stories of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people who were born before the Stonewall riots, the watershed moment that sparked the modern gay-rights movement. OutLoud launched June 28, the 45th anniversary of the riots in which the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, one of New York’s most popular gay clubs at the time, retaliated against the police department vice squads that frequently raided gay bars. StoryCorps is collecting OutLoud stories at its venues in Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago, and elsewhere with its mobile recording booth. It is also partnering with public radio stations and local LGBT organizations.