ATC Client Spotlight: Carmen Fields

While we’ve had the pleasure of working with many incredible clients throughout our 56 years in business, working with Pulitzer-winning journalist Carmen Fields was definitely a highlight for us. Carmen is a legend in her field, having led a long and storied career in print and broadcast journalism that’s led her to be named one of “Boston’s 100 Most Influential People” by Get Konnected™ and recognized as a “Legend of Roxbury” by Roxbury Community College Foundation for her pioneering work as a black woman in broadcast media. 

But Carmen isn’t only a journalist––she’s also an author. Her soon-to-be-published debut work, “Going Back to T-Town: The Ernie Fields Territory Big Band” is a memoir detailing the career of her father, big-band leader Ernie Fields. At ATC, we had the immense honor of helping her digitize analog cassette tapes and transcribing the contents for use in her upcoming memoir, and while we eagerly await the published book, we thought we’d share one of Carmen’s more recent newsworthy projects here in Greater Boston. 

A multicolor digital painting of journalist Carmen Fields with text below reading "Black Authors Collection Donated by Carmen Fields" and subtext reading "Doctor, Humane Letters '92" by Salem State University.

The Salem State Donation

Last year, Carmen made a groundbreaking donation to the Salem State University Library––her extensive personal collection of books by Black authors which featured several signed, first-edition works by authors including Maya Angelou, Colin Powell, Alice Walker, and Muhummad Ali. The collection also included landmark works by Zora Neale Hurston, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Barack Obama, and Dr. Martin Luther King, all of which are currently in circulation at the university’s library. 

This exceptional collection from Carmen, generously donated to Salem State, has served to enrich the lives and cultural literacy of the student body, as well as to help introduce students of all backgrounds to critical texts by Black authors that have shaped history. The importance and impact of such a donation cannot be overstated, and is only one of many reasons we are so honored to count Carmen amongst our clientele here at ATC

How to Preserve Your Family’s Oral History

How to preserve your family's oral history - Audio Transcription Center Blog

Make all family events unforgettable by interviewing your relatives while they’re all together––you’ll hear amazing stories and gather surprising information that you did not know about them.
Just don’t get caught up in the trap of trying to make it perfect, or you’ll never start. Here are 2 easy ways to preserve your relative’s oral history:

Continue reading “How to Preserve Your Family’s Oral History”

StoryCorps – Eat, Drink, Be Merry, and Record?

Eat drink be merry and record - Audio Transcription Center Blog

Holidays offer a perfect time for family to reminisce, and possibly to pass those rather embarrassing family stories around the holiday table along with helpings of stuffing and mashed potatoes.  This year though, make sure to grab a recording device (digital recorder, iPhone, video camera — there are so many options), ask questions you’ve always wondered about the answers to, and listen to the stories while you have the chance.

Continue reading “StoryCorps – Eat, Drink, Be Merry, and Record?”

StoryCorps’s National Day of Listening

Story Corps National Day of Listening - Audio Transcription Center Blog

Thanksgiving is around the proverbial corner, and this holiday is typically a wonderful opportunity for friends and families to reconnect.  People being together offers a perfect time for stories to be passed around the holiday table along with helpings of stuffing and mashed potatoes. The potential for these stories to be handed and passed from generation to generation is at a peak while everyone is together.  What better way to collect, share, and save these stories from potentially being forgotten than by recording, archiving, and transcribing them for posterity?

We believe that StoryCorps’s The National Day of Listening is the perfect excuse to talk, listen, record, and transcribe.

We live in a special time when we’re not just able to orally pass stories down the line, but we’re also able ensure their archival longevity through the recording and transcribing of these personal and oral histories.

Take the time to find a quiet space, and set up your digital recorder.  Test the device to make sure you are recording properly.  Then, hit the record button and listen to and record the story.  It’s that simple, and it will be a gift  to read and listen to for generations.  This year, StoryCorps suggests honoring a veteran, and offers suggested conversation starters right on their website.

Don’t lose out on your family history and question yourself after it is too late.  We speak from our own missed opportunities.

Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving, and the opportunity to listen to, record and transcribe a new story never heard before.

In full disclosure, the Audio Transcription Center has partnered with StoryCorps on transcription of their audio recordings for their published books, Listening is an Act of Love, All There Is, and Mom , that we are humbled and proud to have participated in. 

Michael Sesling                                                           Sandy Poritzky
Director                                                                           Owner/President            
(617) 423-2151                                                              (617) 423-2151

StoryCorps – Client Spotlight March 2010

StoryCorps - Client Spotlight March 2010 - ATC Blog


Though some of you out there might find it hard to believe, given the long hours we spend here “beating unreasonable deadlines since 1966,” we do occasionally get out of the office.  And when we do find ourselves out and about socializing with people unfamiliar with our transcription biz, we oftentimes are presented with this statement/question:

“Transcription.  Mmmm… that’s interesting.  What exactly do you transcribe?”

Of course we go through our laundry list of fascinating transcription topics, but nothing gets a conversation moving faster than mentioning StoryCorps.

And with good reason.  In just seven years, StoryCorps has grown from a modest startup with big ambitions into a full-on national non-profit movement.


Well, yes, kind of.  StoryCorps is a public service, but its mission is the recording and preservation of the stories of everyday Americans.  It is one the largest, most unique oral history projects, and also one of the first and largest born-digital oral history collections — comprised of over 50,000 interviews, recorded in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

“By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how truly great it is to be alive.” – StoryCorps’ Founder, Dave Isay

It all began with one recording booth in NYC’s Grand Central Terminal in 2003.  Now, in 2010, StoryCorps has recording booths in Milwaukee, Nashville, Atlanta and San Francisco, plus two MobileBooths (housed in nifty fifties Airstream trailers) that have traveled to more than 100 cities in 48 states.

The grand total of interviews?  Well over 50,000 and counting.

The compact recording facilities provide a professional-grade environment for ordinary people to share and listen with an end result of broadcast quality audio on a CD they can take home.  The interviews are in turn added to the StoryCorps Archive, housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

You can hear specially selected interviews Friday mornings on NPR’s Morning Edition. These stories are also available for listening on the StoryCorps’ site, or subscribing to the their podcast.  Or, listen to some on the player below!
Put my show and this player on your website or your social network.

That’s our company motto, coined by Sandy, Audio Transcription Center’s founder and president.  Naturally for us, working with StoryCorps is a perfect fit.  And boy, do we love working from that pristine digital audio — although, many a transcriptionist has been moved to tears or laughter (frequently both) while working on SC interviews.

We’ve been transcribing select groups of interviews for StoryCorps since 2006, and many of those appeared in the collection Listening is an Act of Love.  (Our services are available to any individuals who would like a transcript of their session.)

Just in time for Mother’s Day this year, Story Corps’ new collection, Mom, hits the shelves of bookstores nationwide April 15.