Audio Diaries

KOSU’s Audio Diaries are a collection of first-person oral histories recorded by Oklahomans. The project was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to create a space for communities to gather and listen while physically apart.

KOSU partnered with the Oklahoma Historical Society to record and archive the audio diaries. The production is also in partnership with America Amplified, a CPB-funded initiative to use community engagement to inform local journalism.

Here's how to record your story for KOSU.

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Heidi Castro of Stillwater recently made the decision to put her 18-year-long career in education on hold due to COVID-19. In her audio diary for KOSU, Heidi talks about what she misses most about working and how her family is balancing one child being back in school, while the other is distance learning. She also talks about constantly questioning whether or not she made the right decision on not renewing her contract for this school year. 

Chelsea Stanfield/KOSU Radio

After a long stint in the automobile repair industry, Micah Anderson has spent the last couple years going back to his familial roots of farming. In his audio diary for KOSU, Anderson discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has made his life busier as a farmer and the concerns he has for his handicapped daughter. 

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Brittney Matlock has had a lot of big changes in the past couple months. On top of having a baby and learning her husband was immunocompromised, she and her mother — who co-own a business in Oklahoma City — have had to decide how to operate their three locations during a global pandemic.

In her audio diary for KOSU, she talks about the hard costs of being open and the difficulties behind requiring a mask for all staff and visitors. 

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Michelle Smock is a co-owner of a spa in Norman with her husband. In her audio diary for KOSU, she talks about the anxiety of shutting down the business temporarily for 2 and a half months before reopening - and the lack of clear guidance on how to reopen or how to respond if an employee contracted COVID-19. 

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Jennifer Thomas is a 36-year-old, self-employed, Black woman living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In her audio diary for KOSU, the Detroit-native discusses her fears and thankfulness for those around her as she waits for the results from the COVID-19 test she had on June 26.

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Avery Marshall is a black trans man living and working in Tulsa. In the past several months, he has gone through a lot of changes - working from home with his fiancé, postponing their wedding over COVID-19 concerns and recovering from top surgery. In his audio diary, Avery talks about the worries he has even in his regular tasks – like walking his dog, Chugg – and also how he feels about this particular Pride Month.


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Liz Fletcher's husband has cystic fibrosis, so she was already being precautious when out in public before the COVID-19 pandemic. In her audio diary for KOSU, Fletcher, who is a psychotherapist, says she's worried about when she may have to return to work in-person and what that could mean for the health of her husband and her patients. 


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Following the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, north Tulsa resident Sondra Slade and her family are having talks about being black in America. In her audio diary for KOSU, Slade talks about her worries as a parent and how these events are affecting her kids. 


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RJ Young no longer considers COVID-19 as the biggest threat to his health. As a millennial black man living in Tulsa, he says racism has – yet again – become the greatest threat to his well-being. In his audio diary, Young talks about the latest Black Lives Matter protests and how he is terrified to be a black man living in the city that, nearly a century ago, was the site of one of the worst acts of racial violence. 

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Like many of us, Robert LaBorde's daily routines have been impacted by COVID-19 - but that hasn't stopped him from living a full life. In his audio diary, he talks about being a caregiver for his mother-in-law, experiencing loss during a pandemic and how joy can still be found when plans fall by the wayside.


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