On a stage in front of 300 people, Julie Snyder, the senior producer of “This American Life,” shared the story of her career path and journalistic mantras with her audience and mediator Jonah Willihnganz, the director of Stanford Storytelling Project (SSP), the organization that put together the event.
Stanford Storytelling Project
On the evening of Veterans’ Day, a room full of people sat facing an empty stage. There was no video footage or theatrical production for them to watch, yet each person stared transfixed, visualizing the nerve-wracking conflict, crippling heat and insidious boredom of deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan as they listened to the recorded voices of Stanford’s veterans. This was “Stories From the Front,” an event hosted by the Stanford Storytelling Project, a group of students and alumni that believe in the power and importance of oral storytelling.
On Veterans Day, six student veterans joined a panel to discuss their experiences of war. The event, titled “Voices from the front: Stanford students returning home from war,” was hosted by the Stanford Storytelling Project. These are some of their stories.
Though the KZSU show is perhaps the most well-known component of the Stanford Storytelling Project, it is only one segment. Founded in 2007, the Stanford Storytelling Project was created by Willinhganz, who was a fellow with the Stanford Humanities Fund at the time. Realizing the public impact of programs such as NPR’s “This American Life,” Willihnganz received funding through the Hume Writing Center and the Continuing Studies Program and began to teach classes. In these classes, students focused on writing their own memoirs and on collecting stories from around campus. Soon however, the “story collecting” expanded beyond the courses.