Newspaper Reporter Creates Live Storytelling Series

Ally Karsyn's monthly Ode kicks off tonight in Sioux City, Iowa.

For the Sioux City Journal in Iowa, Ally Karsyn is a features reporter while Kirby Kaufman covers City Hall and Native American issues. But tonight, on stage, they will be fellow storytellers, kicking off a once-a-month event devised by Karsyn.


Karsyn was inspired in part by The Moth, the themed storytelling series launched in New York in 1997. Here’s how she recently explained her free-admission project to Journal readers:

One of my favorite things about being a journalist is being able to connect with people I would not otherwise get to meet. It’s a privilege to be invited into people’s homes, into their lives, if only briefly, to sit down at a kitchen table with them and just talk.

It’s made my life so much richer and better than I could ever imagine and that’s something I can’t keep to myself. It must be shared.

That’s why I’m starting a little something called Ode, a storytelling series where community members tell true stories on stage to promote positive impact through empathy.

The stories to be told the last Wednesday of each month must be true, able to be related in 10 minutes or less and read from a prepared, first-person essay. Joining the pair of reporters for kick off tonight at 7 p.m. at ISU Design West will be writer Donna Brooks and motivational speaker John Paul Engel.

Per the illustration above, the debut theme is breaking points and new beginnings. The Facebook page for the event series can be found here.