Frequently Asked Questions about One Small Step – StoryCorps
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Frequently Asked Questions


What is One Small Step?

One Small Step is an effort to mend the fraying fabric of our country—one conversation at a time.

Piloted by StoryCorps in 2018 and launched in 2021, the initiative is designed to bring strangers with different political beliefs together for a 50-minute conversation—not to debate politics, but to learn who we are as people. One Small Step is rooted in contact theory, which states that meaningful interactions with those of different backgrounds and/or beliefs can turn “thems” into “us-es.” StoryCorps has gathered an expert group of social scientists, researchers, and psychologists to ensure One Small Step is as scientifically rigorous as it is interpersonally meaningful. To date, more than 3,000 people in 40 U.S. states have participated in a One Small Step conversation.

How is One Small Step connected to StoryCorps?

Since 2003, StoryCorps’ myriad of initiatives have given more than 600,000 people across the country an opportunity to record an interview with a friend, mentor, or loved one about their lives. One Small Step is a new kind of initiative for StoryCorps that brings strangers together from different backgrounds and beliefs for a conversation. One Small Step conversations use many of the same interview techniques we’ve created over the years to help people connect and see the humanity in each other. These conversations are part of an effort to empower everyday people to be part of the solution and together, show the rest of the country what it means to have the courage to listen.

How do I participate in a One Small Step conversation?

We’re glad you asked! Complete our matching questionnaire. You can sign up with a particular conversation partner, or we can match you with someone else ready to have a conversation. We care deeply about your privacy and use this questionnaire to match you with a conversation partner and to share email updates about One Small Step. Read more about our privacy policy here.

How are One Small Step conversation partners paired up? What is the matching process like?

Once you complete the matching questionnaire, our team begins trying to match you with someone who has different beliefs from you. If we can’t find someone who lives close to you, we look further afield for a match. We use the matching questionnaire to get to know you and find a partner with different political beliefs but also some points of connection. We try to be thoughtful and intentional in this process and it can take some time to find the right match. We appreciate your patience during this step of the process; if we find a match for you, the process is seamless, easy, safe, and powerful. A StoryCorps team member will reach out to you about setting up an interview with your conversation partner and preparing you for the conversation.

Can I participate from anywhere in the United States?

Yes, anyone, anywhere in the United States can participate through our StoryCorps virtual platform. Currently, we are paying special attention to our work in three Anchor Communities (Fresno/Central Valley, CA; Richmond, VA; and Wichita, KS) and our six Radio Station Hubs (Detroit, MI; Wilmington, NC; Ignacio, CO; Grand Marais, MN; Atlanta, GA; and Chattanooga, TN). If you live in one of our Anchor Communities or near a Radio Station Hub, you are more likely to be matched quickly. Apply to be matched here.

What is a One Small Step Anchor Community?

We are currently focusing our work in three One Small Step Anchor Communities where we have implemented a comprehensive advertising and engagement strategy and are working closely with community partners and civic leaders to showcase the potential of our work. Currently, our Anchor Communities are Fresno/Central Valley, CA; Richmond, VA; and Wichita, KS. If you live in one of these communities you are more likely to be matched quickly. Apply to be matched here.

What is a One Small Step Radio Station Hub?

Each year, StoryCorps partners with six public radio stations who offer their own One Small Step program: facilitating, recording, and sharing conversations between community residents. Currently, our Radio Station Hubs are Detroit, MI; Wilmington, NC; Ignacio, CO; Grand Marais, MN; Atlanta, GA; and Chattanooga, TN. Apply to be matched here.

Do One Small Step conversations take place in person or virtually?

Due to the pandemic, most One Small Step recordings are taking place online using StoryCorps’s easy-to-use virtual recording platform.

What does StoryCorps do with the information I share in the One Small Step questionnaire?

We care deeply about your privacy and use this questionnaire to match you with a conversation partner and to share email updates about One Small Step. Read more about our privacy policy here.

What happens after I’ve applied to be matched?

If we find a match for you, a member of the One Small Step team will reach out by phone and/or email to schedule a time to record an interview. We take this process very seriously, and appreciate your patience while we attempt to identify the right partner for your conversation. It may take several weeks or even months before we identify an appropriate partner. We appreciate your patience during this process.

I’ve applied to be matched but have not heard about scheduling a One Small Step conversation. What should I do?

It may take some time for our team to match you with a conversation partner. If you’d like to confirm that we have received your application, email us at [email protected]


If I record a One Small Step conversation, will it be shared publicly?

We’re only able to edit a small selection of our One Small Step recordings to create our broadcasts, podcasts, and animations. However, full-length archived recordings are made available on archive.storycorps.org and default to the “Public” setting in most situations—though you and your recording partner decide whether or not you want to make your interview public. You and your conversation partner will both receive an email from StoryCorps when your recording is ready to be accessed, with instructions on how to “claim” your interview so that you can control your privacy settings. You can learn more about privacy/visibility settings in the Online Archive Help Center.

How do I prepare for my One Small Step conversation?

If you are matched for a conversation, our team will provide you with a packet of information to help you prepare.

How can I bring One Small Step to my organization?

If you represent a group or organization in one of our Anchor Communities or Radio Station Hubs communities and are interested in working with StoryCorps to capture these community-changing conversations, please email us at [email protected] Our capacity to record and partner outside our anchor communities is currently limited but you are welcome to leverage our DIY tools to create your own StoryCorps-inspired One Small Step recording project.

I’m interested in becoming a part of this initiative. How can I volunteer?

One Small Step does not offer any volunteer roles at this time, but you are welcome to leverage our DIY tools to create your own StoryCorps-inspired One Small Step recording project.

Get Involved

One Small Step brings strangers with different political views together to record a 50-minute conversation—not to debate politics, but to learn more about who we are as people. 

Support StoryCorps and our One Small Step Initiative

Support the power of mending divides through listening and talking openly with each other by making a gift to StoryCorps today.

SUPPORT FOR ONE SMALL STEP

One Small Step is made possible by the generous support of The Hearthland Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, the Walmart Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Stand Together Trust.

The Heartland Foundation
Fetzer Institute
Fetzer Stacked
corporation for public broadcasting