What’s a story ambassador?
Story ambassadors are people who live or grew up in the city, and believe in the power of stories to bring Bostonians together. In their spare time, with coaching from Everyday Boston’s founder, Cara Solomon, a former newspaper reporter, they go out into different neighborhoods and record the life experiences of people they find interesting. Then they work with Cara to shape those interviews into first-person stories for the site. Everyday Boston has four founding story ambassadors: George Powell, of Roxbury; Carmen Pola, of Mission Hill; Gabriela Follett, of Dorchester; and Kathy Whitehouse, of Charlestown. Corina Pinto, of East Boston, and Theresa Okokon, of Roslindale, later came on board. This team continues to shape the vision of Everyday Boston and give the organization its roots. Recently, with the country so divided, we opened our interviewing program up to anyone who wants to connect with someone else in the city. No regular meetings required. Just your curiosity, your desire to connect, and your willingness to learn.
To start off, you’ll need a couple of hours of training—either in an individual session with a member of the Everyday Boston team, or through a workshop. Then it’s your turn to choose: Of all the people living or working in Boston, who do you want to interview? It could be someone you already know, and want to know better. It could be someone you see in your daily life, or you met in passing, and you’ve always wondered about. Or you could trust us to pick someone interesting for you—a neighbor you haven’t yet met. We’ll go with you on the interview, transcribe the recording for you, and after some discussion with you, we’ll edit it down into a story. Then you’ll get to read it, and offer suggestions, or raise concerns, before we press publish. We take that last part very seriously: It’s a precious responsibility to share someone else’s story with the wider world. We want to get it right.
How We Edit
Once an interview is transcribed, we edit it for length, clarity and flow; cut out the story ambassador’s questions; and shape it into a first-person story. Cara writes the intro to each story, but the rest of the words come directly from the storyteller. If we add words for clarity or context, we put them in parentheses so you know it’s us. One last, important thing to know: We don’t fact-check the stories on this site, nor do we do any background research on the people we interview. We’re not a media organization; we’re a community-building organization. We listen to what people remember of their lives, and pass it on to you, so that you can hear their voices, and their experiences, and perhaps connect them to your own.