Storytellers Project

Storytellers Project is a nationwide series of live storytelling nights where anyone, from neighbors to notables, can step on stage and share a true, first-person story with their community. Journalists from USA TODAY Network newsrooms produce and host these nights to serve their community and develop a deeper connection to and greater empathy with them.

We combine journalism and oral storytelling to present a broadly appealing evening of entertainment. Storytelling is an art form that empowers, and it’s spreading like journalistic wildfire across the U.S. Since its founding in 2011, more than 7,000 people have told their stories at hundreds of Storytellers Project events.

The series has 100+ nights in 2019 alone nights in front of audiences of 75 to 1200, at venues ranging from the Cape Coral Yacht Club in sunny Florida, to Hoyt Sherman Place in Iowa and The Transept in Ohio. We know that when communities share stories together, we become emotionally and financially more invested in one another.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who runs these nights?

In the newsrooms of 20 cities across the country, a team of USA TODAY Network journalists curate the stories, book the venues, and manage all aspects of the event execution. A team of advertising and sales experts helps align sponsors and events. They are assisted with this on the national level by the Storytellers Project National team.

What kind of stories do people tell?

All sorts of topics are addressed because the world is a complex place. Each night does have a main theme, which all stories revolve around either literally or metaphorically, and 100% conversationally. What is important to remember is that all of the stories are true, and all of the storytellers worked hard to share them with you.

What kinds of people tell the stories?

All kinds! We have a 97% acceptance rate from people whom have contacted us with a story to tell, from as young as 17 to as old as 82. As long as you participate in the coaching process and are within our guidelines, you’ll probably end up on stage.

Are Storytellers Project nights accessible to people with hearing loss or impairment?

Yes! We work with ASL interpreters nationally so all you need to do is contact National Manager Michelle Rogers prior to the event in order for us to provide this service.

How do I buy a ticket?

That’s an easy one! Click “Tickets” on the event you would like to attend. View upcoming events here.

How do I sign up to tell a story?

Just visit our Tell a Story page and fill out the form.

Where can I find Storyteller Project events?

On our All Events page on our website, or on our Facebook Page on the Events tab.

How do I sponsor a night or a series of nights?

Contact our Director, Megan Finnerty.

Why is a national media company running live storytelling events?

The USA TODAY Network has over 280 newsrooms nationwide with a goal to help communities connect. We could have tried super gluing all of your hands together, but this seemed like a more logical (and definitely more effective) approach.

Other Reasons Why:

  • To create a space for everyone to have a voice and stories to be celebrated.
  • Content generation. We hear it is king. And these events help create or support podcasts, radio play, pre and post-show stories, photos, videos, full-length audio, and social media posts.
  • Subscriber/reader acquisition, affinity, and retention.
  • Brand building for individual journalists.

What ages are appropriate for Storytellers Project nights? (Will I be covering my child’s or my mother’s ears all night and writing a curt complaint letter afterwards?)

Have grandma babysit the kids on the night of the show, to avoid any post-event communication with “DEAR SIR OR MADAM” in angry all caps. Essentially, our shows are 90 minutes long and while vulgarity is not encouraged, it’s not banned. We recommend the same types of rules you would apply to a movie and would rate ourselves around a PG-13, minus nudity. Although that’s not banned, either. If you felt slighted in any way by something you heard on stage, let us know.

What is the difference between a Storytellers Project event and a Storytellers Brand Studio event?

Better crab dip? No, actually Storytellers Project is a nationwide series of live storytelling nights. USA TODAY NETWORK newsrooms curate and host the nights of first-person stories told by neighbors and notables. Our journalists have coached all of the storytellers to deliver the most entertaining (and illuminating) stories to a diverse audience. The Storytellers Brand Studio creates custom live storytelling events where brands can tell compelling stories that connect them to the communities they serve. It’s experiential marketing, a more genuine experience in knowing more about a brand than some flashy commercial. We also provide storytelling coaching to professionals and executives alike using storytelling theory and take those stories and turn them into wonderfully shareable branded content. Want to know more? Contact our Director, Megan Finnerty.

How can I learn more about your private or corporate storytelling coaching and/or branded content?

Contact our Director, Megan Finnerty.

I am a super-curious person and my question is not listed.

“42.” No? Since that still didn’t answer your question, send your inquiry to us here.