How stories are told around the world

Sensemaking takes many forms.

It’s said there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love, once you’ve heard their story. Dave Isay knows that. The ability to honor every human by listening to what they have to say about themselves is central to StoryCorps, the nonprofit he founded in 2003.

The premise of StoryCorps is simple: One person interviews another and their conversation is recorded for posterity. It’s a strikingly straightforward proposition. But then, storytelling has always been less about glitz or gadgetry and more about connection and communication. No matter the tech, humans have invariably figured out a compelling way to tell each other stories.

That’s not to say we all tell stories the same way. Far from it. As Kay Turner, a folklorist and independent scholar who’s on the board of the New York Folklore Society, notes, “Even if a story is the same, each culture will tell it differently, because…

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