Digital Storytelling Resource Guide


A resource guide developed by Digital Arts Service Corps VISTA Leader Erica Jones and 4 other VISTA Leaders to highlight the importance of telling the VISTA Leader Story, the basics of storytelling, and the tools available to create and tell a story.

They also collected VISTA Leaders stories and included them in a video for further illustrating concepts around digital storytelling:

Podcasting and Storytelling Curriculum


The first chapter of DIY Radio: Podcast This! a storytelling for internet radio and podcasting curriculum created by corps member Melissa Niiya

CTC Youth Digital Media Workshop Building

VISTA Name: 
Ray Varona
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Ray was responsible for managing our computer refurbishing lab, including creating a training program for refurbishing volunteers, researching an inventory system, developing and leading technology workshops for our students. While his work in the refurb lab was very valuable, his most significant accomplishment, and the one that was the biggest benefit to our organization, was the workshops he developed for our technology center.

Project Outcome: 

Ray spent the year coming up with ideas for the workshops, creating the materials necessary to lead the workshops, and organizing the instructors of the workshops. Workshop topics included digital storytelling, silent movie-making, audio dubbing, and 3D imaging. Ray learned how create (and advertise) workshops that are appealing to teens and eventually had regular attendance at them. Students in our program earn a free computer system to take home. Our policy states that if they attend 5 workshops, they’ll earn enough extra credit to earn a year of free internet access at home. While nearly all of our students earn the home computer, many students weren’t able to take advantage of the free internet since they weren’t getting the opportunity to attend workshops. With Ray’s help, a great number of students were able to attend the workshops that are required in order to earn home internet. While having a home computer is valuable to our students, without internet they remain at a disadvantage when it comes to completing homework and projects for school.

Now that Ray’s term has ended we are happy to have a whole library of workshop ideas and materials at the ready. Because everything has already been developed, it is much easier for us to recruit volunteers to lead our workshops, since it no longer requires a significant time commitment on their part. We are pleased that we were able to, and will be able to continue to, offer so many workshops to our students and that they may earn internet access at home.

Archiving Local History Online

VISTA Name: 
Nora Lollar
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

The broad goal of Nora’s VISTA assignment was to develop local historical content for our online community history archive “Inland Northwest Memories” (, to link the Memories project to other TINCAN community efforts, and to create a base of volunteers to collect information and maintain the site. Nora has taken a somewhat moribund project, where the site/database had been created but content was not being entered, and created a vibrant resource that captures local history.

Project Outcome: 

The first focus for the site was to capture the history of World War II veterans because they are subject of a great deal of local interest and are quickly passing away. TINCAN is a contributing member of the Library of Congress Veterans’ History project. Nora’s accomplishments on the veteran’s aspect of the project include:

• Collecting, transcribing, and uploading (with volunteer assistance) 25 WWII veterans’ and civilians’ oral histories. Several WWI veterans have been identified as well.
• Scanning hundreds of photos from WWII, often from veterans’ scrapbooks, and photographing memorabilia, including medals and souvenirs brought back from the various locations in which the veterans were stationed.
• Reorganizing the handful of veteran’s histories and photos that were online, which included creating consistent archiving processes for the materials, correcting annotations, and in some cases, re-contacting the veteran or civilian to check data.
• Developing a cadre of 30 volunteers, primarily from Gonzaga University, to carry out interviews and scan photos.
• Putting on events to bring attention to veterans’ history. Perhaps the most memorable was a gathering on Veteran’s Day at a neighborhood coffee house, where veterans of all wars were invited to come, bring materials to be scanned, and make appointments for oral histories. The café owner loaned the back room to set up computers and scanners, and a local grocery store provided a large cake decorated like an American flag.

The next focus of the project was to engage local historical organizations in uploading historical materials to the Memories site. Nora’s accomplishments to date are:

• Identifying local museums and historical associations in the Inland Northwest. Four organizations are now actively working with the project.
• Working with the Valley Museum, a small community museum, that is planning to upload documents and photographs to the site. Working with a local school, they will develop an exhibit on the founders of the Valley community, and upload the materials to the site as well as having an exhibit.
• Working with the Hillyard Museum, which does not yet have a physical location, to explore putting materials online as a means of raising interest in the development of their neighborhood museum.
• Working with the local Railroad Society to consider putting their extensive collection of materials online. We will also look for a means of collecting railroad-related oral histories, since the railroads were pivotal in Spokane’s settlement and development.
• Scanning and documenting materials for the Masonic Temple, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
• Helping to develop a rationale for organizations to put their materials online. For example, since every item in the Memories archive contains the URL of the contributing organization (if available), viewers of online materials may select the contributor’s web site for further information, and perhaps donations.
• Beginning to develop formal training materials for volunteers to put materials online. Formal training procedures for uploading and using the archiving tool will greatly streamline the process, and take the burden off staff trying to develop a full and interesting site. The project also has goals that include working with K-12 schools and TINCAN’s other projects to make use of the Memories site. Accomplishments to date include:
• Assisting teachers who took prior oral history workshops in uploading student interviews and other veteran’s memorabilia.
• Developing a project with a local K-8 school to work with the Valley museum on an exhibit.
• Planning a summer teacher workshop for summer 2005.
• Developing a proposal with the Garland neighborhood to engage at risk teens in TINCAN’s Virtual Online Teen Center in a project that will use oral histories to create the basis for business district murals and a video project.

CTC Technician and Program Builder

VISTA Name: 
Brandi Day
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Outcome: 

Brandi has been working with CompuMentor and Citizens Housing Corporation for six months. In that time she has provided logistical and planning support, managing a number of CTN workshops including YouthLearn, Writing Great Grant Proposals, Amazing Success Stories, and Youth Media: Digital Storytelling & Animation. Brandi has also been actively involved in the Community Technology Network Steering Committee as a member and secretary. In this role, she has been responsible for keeping members informed about upcoming events and meetings as well as dissemination of meeting minutes and materials. In addition, Brandi has maintained the CTN Bay Area website at She has overseen the redesign of the website with volunteers from OPNet’s web design students. In her work as computer technician and consultant at Citizens Housing Corporation she has set up and maintained two computer labs in low-income housing units.

Third Coast Conference

October 28, 2010 - October 30, 2010
Chicago, IL

Ready to spend two + days with hundreds of fellow producers, artists, students, and audio enthusiasts, talking shop about radio/audio storytelling on the airwaves and beyond? Ready to come together, listen to each other’s work, share ideas and expertise, and make priceless connections with future colleagues and new friends?

Thought so. This fall marks our tenth (!) anniversary, and we hope you’ll celebrate with us over the course of another radio-drenched weekend here in Chicago.

Preserving Democracy: LA Media Reform Summit 2010

March 27, 2010
Los Angeles, CA

If you are concerned that our democracy is being usurped by today’s media, that communities are being harmed by the absence of local news coverage, and that diverse groups lack access to the media, now is the time to act!

Join us for this informative half-day summit.

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Occidental College
11:00am to 5:00pm with reception to follow
Free parking for all, and free admission for Occidental students, faculty and staff
Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door
Discount tickets available for students, seniors and youth (18 and under) with valid ID

Telling compelling stories with Data

Data Visualization

I am blown away by the data visualizations created by VISTA Billy Brown serving at the Community Center of St. Bernard. The image above is part of a data report that his supervisor found so compelling she took it to a funder.


Whitesburg, KY

Appalshop, founded in 1969 as a War on Poverty program, is a non-profit multi-disciplinary arts and education center in the heart of Appalachia producing original films, video, theater, music and spoken-word recordings, radio, photography, multimedia, and books.

Our goals are to enlist the power of education, media, theater, music, and other arts:
* to document, disseminate, and revitalize the lasting traditions and contemporary creativity of Appalachia;
* to tell stories the commercial cultural industries don’t tell, challenging stereotypes with Appalachian voices and visions;
* to support communities’ efforts to achieve justice and equity and solve their own problems in their own ways;
* to celebrate cultural diversity as a positive social value; and
* to participate in regional, national, and global dialogue toward these ends.

Project Description: 

Appalshop has identified the development of our online communication as the key project to address to raise our organizational capacity. Specifically focused on our innovative criminal justice national dialogue project ( we intend to: 1) measure the strengths and weakness of our organization and network partner’s communication capacity through face-based research and sharing, 2) improve intra and inter- regional communication around pressing social and economic issues , 3) develop a new platform of communication beyond current practices, and 4) create community pride and investment in Appalachia by challenging stereotypes and letting people tell their own story in their own way.

Specifically, the backbone of building our online communication capacity is the implementation of a relationship management system, CRM, for tracking and communicating with our partners, constituents and contacts. Training staff in the use of the CRM, creating institutional best practices, migrating current contacts into the new system, and setting up internal and external processes to fully utilize this new technology our are goals for the first phase of implementation. This project would expand our ability to communicate with our community, increasing the impact and reach of our programs. In addition to the CRM, we envision the online communication project developing a monthly email newsletter, increasing the number of updates to our website, and exploring innovative ways to migrate content from our daily work (audio, video, image, and text) to our emerging online community.

Appalshop has been granted a free CRM account from the Sales Force. In 2009 our current VISTA trained staff in the use of SaleForce, migrated a ‘test batch” into SalesForce, and has begun developing an implementation plan. Building on our current VISTA’s work, along with a team members from across the organization, the VISTA would take the lead in implementing the first phase of SF, using Sales Force’s online learning tools, identify the key programs applicable to our needs, and lead the staff through taking the courses and subsequent discussions to enhance learning. The key goals in the first phase of developing our CRM are: to work with our web design firm to connect Sales Force’s online forms to our website and email accounts, create a process for entering leads and contacts, develop email templates for communication, and customize SalesForce to fit our organization structure and needs. We anticipate the VISTA member convening meetings, tracking goals, and looking for opportunities to raise the capacity of our staff and community participants in the use of technology that moves our organizational goals forward. Specifically we intend to do an “assets survey” to evaluate and codify existing opportunities and content being produced through our education, radio, artistic, and community development work that could be migrated into engaging web content.

In early 2008 Appalshop began a consultancy with the Doris Duke Foundation/EMC2 to explore new innovations within the arts and community development. Appalshop’s leadership has identified the development of our database, online presence, social networking sites, and communication strategies as the pressing organizational priority. Expanding our communication capacity will increase the effectiveness of our work, garner more community participants, expanding our individual donor base, and allow us to use our staff time more efficiently. In late April 2009, key Appalshop staff will take part in a week long retreat to work with a technology consultant and organization planning expert to map our future steps in creating stronger communication and online strategies. A VISTA member will bring needed support at a crucial moment in our process.

Appalshop’s education and community work (community radio, theater, youth media, internet, and film making) addresses pressing social issues ranging from rural health issues to exploring the U.S. criminal justice system. At the heart of our artistic production is the belief that low-income communities have the knowledge and experience to find the solutions to problems in their own ways. Developing our online, database, and communication capacity will allow Appalshop to add breadth and depth to its work.

Appalshop’s programmatic work strives to involve community participants at every level of the organization’s process. Developing our online community and communication capacity will deepen our participation base, heighten our impact, and expand our possibilities for partnerships across the programmatic divisions of our institution. We anticipate an increased involvement from rural youth, low-income participants, traditional musicians, and stake-holders in the pressing social, economic, and environmental issues facing the central Appalachian region.

Project Tangibles: 
Appalshop is a member of several regional and national organizations that directly represent the field of community arts centers. (NAMAC, Alternate ROOTS, and NFCB) Annually, Appalshop presents, panels, and screens at dozens of field related conferences and convenings. We intended to document the process of the project, develop a short case study report, and share our experiences and findings through both presentations and field related publications. We envision a blog documenting our experiences that shares links to relevant information regarding our development of a CRM database, communication strategies, and organization development.
Transmission Project