Students from Stories: YES Houston have spent the week familiarizing themselves with their new audio recorders in an exercise called a “vox pop.”
A vox pop is a woman/man-on-the-street interviewing exercise where you ask a single question of a diverse group of people to gather a wide range of responses or stories.
Journalist John Weiss reads from his book, ‘Back Roads,’ on April 21
“I’m heading to the river,” is what John Weiss always said as he left the Rochester Post-Bulletin newspaper office, on his way to find a story. Randi Kallas, his former editor, said, “Which river, you could never be sure. And how close to a river he actually got was up for debate.” Over decades at the newspaper, Weiss wrote the much-beloved “Back Roads” column, finding human interest stories hidden all over Southern Minnesota. This weekend, the local media project Stories: YES Houston has invited him to read from his recently published “Back Roads,” the best of the best of his column.
In partnership with the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program, Stories: YES Houston (YES is an acronym for Youth, Engagement, Skillbuilding), connects students with local historical and cultural centers for community-based research and hands-on technology experience. In 2018, Houston County students are exploring how work became a central element in American culture, and tracing the many changes that have affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years.
The program is working with three area students who will develop skills in local and oral history research, interviewing, media production, exhibit design, narrative writing, public speaking, and more. By the end of the project, the participants will have produced a series of multimedia stories that will inspire local conversations on economic sustainability and regional identity. The three students participating are Lillian Carlson of Houston (grade 12), Gavin Thorson of Spring Grove (grade eight), and Tiffany Michels (grade eight), also from Spring Grove.
Weiss will be leading a workshop on interviewing and narrative writing with the students, and later that evening will be reading excerpts from his book at The Wired Rooster in Caledonia, Minn. His reading is presented in partnership with the Caledonia Public Library and The Wired Rooster, as part of its Adult Storytime series, where short stories of various genres are read aloud. Weiss will close out the night.
Students from Stories: YES Houston will be present at the event to informally interview audience members about their work experiences in Houston County. The questions they ask will elicit stories from participants that will help shape their individual digital storytelling projects. Their completed digital stories will be available for the public to experience in summer 2018.
Adult Storytime featuring Weiss takes place on Saturday, April 21, at 6 p.m. at The Wired Rooster in Caledonia, Minn.
Additional information about the Stories: YES Houston program can be found at www.storiesyeshouston.com.