Take One Small Step With ideastream And StoryCorps

Right now, Americans face their greatest challenge in a generation: rebuild our country in the wake of a global pandemic crisis. People of all backgrounds in this country have shown that we can come together in hard times. But with social distancing, an upcoming election, and growing feelings of isolation and separation from our communities, how do we rise to that challenge?

"Liberal" or "conservative," everyone has a stake in this community - and a responsibility to step up. Start by coming to the table: This year, take One Small Step.

In collaboration with the national nonprofit StoryCorps, ideastream is inviting residents to have a conversation with another member of your community who you might not otherwise have a chance to talk with and with whom you might even disagree politically.

It’s part of One Small Step, a nationwide project launched by StoryCorps to break down boundaries created by the difficult time in America right now. ideastream is one of six stations across the United States chosen to lead in this initiative in 2020.

It’s free to participate, and you can join us virtually - from your own home. Ask and answer questions like:

Was there an event or person in your life that shaped your political views?

Have your political views changed over time? Was there something specific that made you change?

Has there been a particular moment when you felt misunderstood by someone with different beliefs than you?

It’s not about politics. It’s an opportunity to talk about the life experiences that formed your values, and to be reminded of how to listen with respect. When we come together, we can find the stories and the dignity at the foundation of one another’s beliefs.

Sign Up To Take One Small Step


How One Small Step Works

  • People interested in taking part in a One Small Step conversation should fill out our Questionnaire for potential participants. The responses help our team to pair people together to facilitate the best conversation possible.
  • If you’re paired, station staff will reach out to each participant to set up a mutually convenient time for the One Small Step conversation. We will also share information to help both participants think about their questions for each other and feel prepared.
  • You can take part in a StoryCorps conversation “virtually,” on a computer. Requirements: a reliable internet connection, and a computer with a video camera and a microphone.
  • For “virtual” One Small Step recordings, the producer will do a short “tech check” with each participant a day or two before the recording appointment.
  • During your One Small Step appointment, a facilitator will share some brief “paperwork” and explain how the recording will happen. Once recording begins, the facilitator will help start the conversation with 1-3 kick-off questions. After that, participants drive the conversation with questions of their own.
  • The recording lasts about 40 minutes. The whole process takes 60-75 minutes.
  • Each participant will receive a digital copy of the recording.
  • If both participants choose, the recording is also preserved in the StoryCorps collection at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
  • Some recordings, with participants’ permission, will be edited and broadcast on the radio.
  • Recordings start in July and continue through November 2020.


Ground Rules

DON'T: Interrupt your partner or raise your voice.

DO: Listen carefully, with curiosity and an open mind.

REMEMBER: It’s a two-way conversation. Be prepared to ask and answer questions. Don’t debate political issues. The goal is to talk with civility and get to know each other - not as stereotypes or talking points - but as neighbors and human beings.

Participant FAQ

Whom should I bring for the One Small Step Conversation?

Our station is asking potential participants to fill out a Questionnaire and based on the responses, we will find a conversation partner for you. If you already have a potential partner in mind, you can let us know in the Questionnaire.

How can I prepare for my conversation?

One Small Step sessions are not scripted. They are intended to be natural conversations. It is a good idea to spend some time before your appointment thinking about what questions you want to ask or topics you want to explore. We will provide some suggested questions, and invite you to think of other questions you’d like to ask. But do not over-prepare. Just come with an open mind and ready to be yourself.

How long is the conversation?

The recorded conversation itself is 40 minutes long. There is a short orientation and some paperwork you will need to fill out before and after the interview, so the entire process takes 60-75 minutes.

Is station staff present during the recording session?

A trained facilitator is present throughout the entire interview process and handles all technical aspects of the recording. Facilitators also help ensure that you have a comfortable and meaningful experience.

What will happen to the recording of my conversation?

With your permission, a copy of the recording will be archived with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Within a few weeks of your appointment, you will receive a digital download link of the audio. We encourage you to make copies of your interview to share with your friends, family, and colleagues.

Will my story be excerpted for the public to hear?

With permission from participants, our station or StoryCorps may choose to edit your conversation for broadcast, however, only a very small percentage of recordings are ever broadcast on the radio.

How much does it cost to participate?

You may participate free of charge.

What if I do not want my story to be archived?

If you do not sign the release form, you will receive the audio, but the interview will not be archived and we will not keep a copy. Regardless of whether or not you sign the release form, each interview participant will receive the audio of the conversation to share with family and friends.

About StoryCorps

Founded in 2003 by Dave Isay, StoryCorps has given people of all backgrounds and beliefs, in thousands of towns and cities in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. The organization preserves the recordings in its archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered, and shares select stories with the public through StoryCorps’ podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books. These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, wisdom and values; engender empathy and connection; and remind us how much more we have in common than what divides us. Learn more at storycorps.org.


StoryCorps' One Small Step is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

More Wcpn Schedule
More Wclv Schedule
90.3 WCPN
WCLV Classical 104.9
NPR Hourly Newscast
The Latest News and Headlines from NPR
This text will be replaced with a player.
This text will be replaced with a player.
This text will be replaced with a player.