A Day in the Life: StoryCorps Facilitators
We’re taking a closer look at what could arguably be the coolest job ever.
StoryCorps Facilitators are very much like our “people in the field.” They are the ones on the ground, bearing witness to and recording the interviews that make up our archive of nearly 90,000 voices. In the course of just a month, they have met more people and listened to more unique life stories than many will in a lifetime.
So, what is it like to listen to thousands of people tell their stories for a living? The rest of us StoryCorps-ers are just as fascinated to know more about these fabled facilitators as you are. So we decided to investigate. Turns out, the myths are true. Their jobs are incredibly cool.
Our journey began with Jill Glaser, Door-to-Door Facilitator.
Q: What has been your most interesting experience during your time as a facilitator?
A: In D.C., we recorded interviews with the Military Partners and Families Coalition, an organization that provides support to LGBTQ service members. Many of the participants talked about living under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, being investigated, and the effect of the repeal on their everyday lives. The conversations were incredibly touching because these veterans were openly expressing love for their families. One couple had been together for 40 years and they were finally able to share their story publicly. Hearing these stories first-hand puts history and the current issues we face into perspective.
Q: Where was your favorite or most memorable city?
A: Visiting Chicago was the first time I thought, “I could really live here.” I’m a huge comedy fan and it’s a great place to catch a show.
Q: What is the best part of the job?
A: It’s rewarding when the experience is somehow surprising for participants. I facilitated a recording between a shy husband and his wife. After the interview, his wife turned to me and said excitedly, “He’s never talked that much!” He stepped out of his comfort zone for their conversation. It was a funny and sweet moment to witness.
Q: What are your favorite tunes to listen to during your travels?
A: These don’t count as tunes, but I mostly listen to comedy podcasts on flights. “How Was Your Week?” with Julie Klausner is my favorite.
Q: Did you and/or the team create any favorite travel games on your many trips?
A: I’m sure I drive everyone nuts with my absurd hypothetical questions. I love asking them as conversation starters and time killers. For example, “Would you accept an offer for your ideal job if you were required to live on a submarine?”
Q: Is there anything you’ve learned as a facilitator that you did not expect to learn?
A: If you’re driving in the dark night of rural Mississippi and you hit a tire in the middle of the road- don’t panic! Rental car insurance will save you and your co-facilitator will forgive you for the scare.