The Stanford Storytelling Project was founded in 2007 as a showcase for the stories of students, alumni, staff and faculty at the university. Their mission is to promote the craft of storytelling, and examine what makes great storytelling great. In the first three years the project produced more than 50 shows and more than 100 student pieces that have grown out of research done in everything from history and drama to biology and engineering. Now in its fourth year, Stanford Storytelling Project has planned a series of events and programs many of which will appear in some form or another on a brand new website launched earlier this year. One great addition to the project is a blog curated by Stanford alums Will Rogers and Bonnie Swift. Thus far, featured audio has included work by independent producers like Shea Shackelford and Virginia Millington and public radio staples like Radiolab and This American Life. I asked Will to tell me more about the inspiration for the blog and his hopes for this new storytelling outpost.
Jeremy: How do you find stories for the blog?
Will: We usually feature stories that stuck with us in a special way and/or stories that exemplify some craft element in radio storytelling. We’ve also solicited suggestions from friends and colleagues, because there’s just so much great material out there. We’ve got an ever-growing list of stuff that’s recommended to us, for whenever we need new material to feature.
Jeremy: What are some of your favorite stories that have been posted on the blog?
Will: My favorite is actually one of the stories that you suggested [a couple of] months ago, where Bob Panara tells two baseball stories in two minutes. The storyteller is deaf, so it gives the listener a powerful window into deaf culture… I love this story. My favorite of Bonnie’s selections is on the other end of the spectrum, length-wise (it’s an hour and a half long), but it’s still very condensed. It’s called “Good Stories Make Good Lectures,” and it features a lecture by Wade Davis, whose stories take people into the middle of the jungle, with a powerful sense of respect that’s often lacking in travel narratives, including academic ones. My other favorites are “A Cry Button” and “Holy Heck I’m Hearing Triple!”
Jeremy: How often do new posts go up?
Will: At least once per week. Usually twice per week.
Jeremy: What is your mission for the blog? How is it distinct from the rest of the Stanford Storytelling Project website?
Will: It’s a place where we can tell people what we’re listening to. We’re living in a golden age of radio, and it’s important to open peoples ears up to that. The blog, in many ways, exists to promote work produced outside of the Stanford community, and to build connections between what we do and the bigger movement of storytelling that’s going on.
If you’ve checked out the Stanford Storytelling Blog and would like to submit or suggest a story go to: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFQ5S2JSck1ORlNMOVZUZVctd052RlE6MQ