Interview a Loved One Using the StoryCorps APP
on Your Phone
The StoryCorps APP provides the user with a sound recording and one photo.
This free mobile app puts the StoryCorps experience entirely in your hands so that you can record and archive a meaningful conversation with anyone, anywhere. The app guides users through the interview experience, from start to finish with easy-to-use tools to help you prepare interview questions, record high-quality conversations on your mobile device, and upload the audio to the Library of Congress and their online archive (if you would like to share it publicly).
Overview: 5 Steps to Recording Your StoryCorps App Interview
Prepare, record, and share a conversation between you and another person.
Download the StoryCorps App
Download the StoryCorps App to your mobile device and create a free account. This account will be used to prepare, record, save and share your interviews. You can also browse the StoryCorps collection to listen to stories that others have shared.
Partner, Prep, and Place
To record an interview, all you’ll need is a partner, some prep time, and a quiet place. Your partner can be anyone you’d like to get to know better. You can choose your interview questions from question lists provided in the app, or write your own. Arrange a time when both you and your partner will be relaxed, and choose a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be interrupted.
Have a Conversation
Follow the prompts in the app to begin recording, and let the conversation flow! Listen closely, and let your chosen questions guide the discussion, not control it. Make sure you ask follow-up questions. You never know what unexpected and wonderful new things you will learn about a person–no matter how well you think you know them.
Enter Photo, Title, and Keywords
After the interview, you’ll be prompted to take a selfie with your partner, and add a title, description, and keywords to your interview before uploading. Titles should be descriptive to help you keep track of your conversations. Keywords are like hashtags, making it easier for you and others to find your interview in the StoryCorps collection.
Share and Archive Your Interview
In order to allow future generations to find, listen to, and learn from the stories you and your partner just shared, you will have the option to share your recording on the StoryCorps website and have it archived at the Library of Congress. If you prefer to keep your interview private, you can choose to only save your interview to your device and share your file directly with family and friends.
Have more questions? Visit the StoryCorp Help Center at support.storycorps.me or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details on How to Use the StoryCorps App
There are four basic parts: Getting the App, Preparing for the Interview with App Tools, Recording an Interview, Saving and Sharing Your Story
NOTE: The https://www.wikihow.com/Use-the-StoryCorps-App site includes visuals with all of the instructions provided in this section. Visuals on this page and the next are examples from the site.
The StoryCorps app is free and available for both Android and Apple devices. If you have an Android device, get the app in the Google Play Store. If you have an Apple device, get the app in the iTunes App Store.
Download and install the free app to your device.
Tap the “Download” button on the StoryCorps app page. Accept any permission requests and follow the prompts that appear. StoryCorps will begin to download immediately. You will need a valid internet connection.
Consider signing up for a free account.
When the app finishes installing, look for the orange and white StoryCorps icon in your list of apps. Tap it to launch the app. Swipe through the introduction slideshow. At the end, you can choose whether to sign up for an account or continue without one. Use the buttons at the bottom to choose either. Both options are free.
The main benefit of an account is that it gives you a StoryCorps user profile. Other users can search for you and follow you to receive updates when you upload content — just like on Instagram and similar social sites. If you don’t like this idea, you still have all the main app features without an account. There are also several minor features unique to account holders. For instance, when you’re recording an interview, you can only “add” other users’ accounts to the interview for tagging purposes if you have an account.
Use the home screen buttons to navigate the app.
When you finish the setup process, you’ll be at the main app screen. The buttons you’ll see here help you start using the app. These are: Plus sign in top right = Start recording a new story. See below for step-by-step instructions. Three lines in the top left = View the menu options. You will see options for browsing your own interviews, listening to other peoples’, getting help, and more. You can edit your profile with the button at the bottom if you’re logged in.
Choose “Prepare an interview” if you need help getting started.
Choose this option after hitting the “+” button if you’d like some guidance as you make your first interview. With this option, you create a list of interview questions. StoryCorps can suggest questions to you if you’re having trouble thinking of any. You can add your interview partner’s profile to your account (only if you’ve signed up for one). You set an approximate time limit for your interview. Don’t worry — you can go over (up to 45 minutes). If you don’t need help, just choose “Record an interview.” In this case, skip to the steps below about the recording process.
Make a list of questions. After selecting “Prepare an interview,” choose “What questions will you ask?” at the top to start making your list. You’ll see a list of sample open-ended questions on the next page. Tap on each one you like to add to your list. When you’re done, don’t forget to tap “Save” on the top right. Swipe to the left and right to see different categories of questions. You’ll start in the “Best Questions” category. Other options include “Family Heritage”, “Love and Relationships”, and more. You can write custom questions at any time by tapping “Write Your Own Question” at the top.
Use StoryCorps’ tips for writing your own questions. Start out with simple questions (e.g., “Where are you from?”) After ten or fifteen minutes, your subject will be more comfortable, so you can transition to more open-ended questions (e.g., “How did your hometown shape you as you grew up?”), which usually gets more personal responses. Don’t be afraid to let your interview get emotional. These are deeply intimate, personal recordings — laughter, tears, frustration, and a spectrum of other emotions are welcome. StoryCorps recommends openended questions for getting the most detailed, personal results from your interview. A few example questions include: What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? Is there anything that you’ve never told me, but want to tell me now? What was your childhood like? Did you have a nickname? How’d you get it? When did you first fall in love?
Enter interview partner information if you wish. On the preparation screen, tap the “Who will you interview?” button. On the next page, you can enter the name and email address of the person you’re interviewing. This isn’t required, but it’s handy for keeping track of interviews. Tap “Save” when you’re done. You must be signed into your account to do this. If you aren’t, you’ll be prompted to log in or create an account.
Choose a time length for your interview. You have three options: 15, 30, and 40 minutes. Regardless of which option you choose, the app will automatically stop recording at 45 minutes.
Pick a great interview partner. StoryCorps recordings take the form of two person interviews. Pick someone to talk to who is close to you or who has a story you want to share. This can be almost anyone. Below are just a few examples of people you may want to consider talking to. Feel free to pick a person who is not listed: a cherished grandparent, a veteran, someone with a unique social or ethnic perspective, someone who’s struggled through adversity, or someone who’s truly made a difference in your life.
Find a good location for your interview. StoryCorps recommends a few measures and precautions when it comes to where you record your interview. Pick someplace quiet. The quieter, the better. Keep in mind that things like airplanes overhead and construction in the distance can be picked up quite easily. Basements can be good for avoiding these sorts of noises. Pick someplace away from other people. This should be someplace indoors where you are unlikely to be disturbed for up to 45 minutes. Pick someplace with no echo. Don’t record in a large, open room with lots of hard surfaces. If you need to, you can add furniture, rugs, blankets and other “soft” objects to dampen an echo. Silence your phone and remove any objects in the room that are creating noise (like ticking clocks).
Press the “+” button to start a new interview.
(If you need help preparing questions and getting started, use the “Prepare an Interview” option.) Otherwise, just tap “Record an Interview.” Record the interview, following the onscreen questions. When you tap “Record an Interview,” you will go to the recording screen, but you won’t begin recording right away. To start, tap the “Record” option at the bottom. Your device’s microphone will activate. It is almost always at the bottom of the phone, so point this end at yourself when you’re talking and point it at your subject when s/he is talking. As you start to record, you’ll see cards with instructions at the top of the screen. The first will direct you to introduce yourself and get started. The rest of the cards will have the questions you chose earlier.
Use the pin and star buttons to leave timestamps in your interview. Searching for the highlights in the middle of a 30 or 40-minute interview can be difficult. Luckily, the app lets you mark them while recording so that you can instantly find them later. The pushpin button marks the beginning of a question. Press it when you start asking your partner each new question. You should see a small dot appear over the progress bar at the bottom. The star button marks especially good parts of the conversation. Press it whenever you hear something funny, poignant, revealing, interesting, etc.
Press “Done” when you’re finished. Tap “Yes” to confirm your choice. You can’t go back to the interview after this point. Afterward, you’ll be able to see your completed interview on the main app screen. Press the big play button to listen! You’ll be directed to take a picture with your interview subject while you wrap up. StoryCorps will switch to your camera app for this. BE CAREFUL NOT TO HIT THE DONE BUTTON UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE INTERVIEW.
Press the “Publish” button for the interview you want to share. After you finish an interview, you’ll find yourself back on the main app screen. Here, you can scroll through the interviews you’ve already recorded (as well as the drafts you haven’t finished yet). Find a finished interview in the list and press the “Publish” button at the bottom to continue. At this point, your interview is still not public.