“PBS American Portrait”is a national story-telling project that invites people across the country to use photos, videos and words to tell their own stories to illustrate who we are as a people. This project asks people to be vulnerable–to share their stories and sometimes their deepest truths.

Regional PBS member station WITF is participating in this digital storytelling project and is actively searching for over 100 people to submit their stories at pbs.org/american-portrait/. The station will produce a local television special starring the people of Central Pennsylvania in their own words. Stories submitted through December 7, 2020 could be featured in the WITF “American Portrait” special or in future national “American Portrait” series.

Each Central Pennsylvanian is unique and part of the American story. WITF asks people living in the Midstate, to submit their individual stories by responding to one of several thought-provoking prompts such as “I was raised to believe…,” “The tradition I carry on is…,” “What keeps me up at night is…,” and more.

“Whether it’s joy or sorrow, triumph or hardship, family traditions you’ve followed for decades or just the chaos of the morning school run, we want to put together a picture of life as it’s really lived, today,“ said Heather Woolridge, WITF director of community engagement. “It’s a chance for you to give us a glimpse into your life, and a chance for you to be heard. This is a major opportunity to make history by creating a communal space where people can share, explore and listen.”

Everyone is welcome. WITF seeks stories from the entire community — the more local stories told, the more a real, complex, fascinating portrait of life in Central Pennsylvania will be told.

WITF offers these tips on how to participate:

  1. Visit PBS American Portrait
  2. Choose one of the 16 prompts on the website and think of how you will answer it as it relates to you.
  3. Create a 20-60 second self-recorded video answering the prompt. There’s no need to introduce yourself on video, simply start recording with your selected prompt and then get right into your answer. Or, submit a photo or just a plain text story. 
  4. Upload to the website – this will require you to register your email. Check out the 60 second How-To-Upload Video  

Note: Do not email your video or send it as an attachment. It must be uploaded to the platform (Chrome recommended over Safari).  

  • You will receive a link to your story once you have uploaded it to the site. Then share your story on your social media page(s) and nominate a friend or family member to participate.   

The WITF “American Portrait” projectis supported locally by Presbyterian Senior Living.

Target is a major national funder and promotional partner for “PBS American Portrait”, expanding the reach of this initiative. National funding is also provided by the Anne Ray Foundation.

Visit the “PBS American Portrait”website at www.pbs.org/americanportrait and follow the conversation at #AmericanPortraitPBS on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


About WITF 

WITF is a trusted provider of public media news and programming for approximately 2.3 million people in 19 counties of Central Pennsylvania, encouraging children and adults to Live Inspired®.  A member station of PBS and NPR, WITF’s media services include public television (WITF TV and WITFK PBS KIDS 24/7), public radio (WITF 89.5 & 93.3), websites (including witf.org, TransformingHealth.org, stateimpact.npr.org/Pennsylvania, and ExplorePAhistory.com), and a production services division (Media Solutions). WITF’s mission is to inspire lifelong learning by connecting people and communities of Pennsylvania through trusted journalism, thoughtful discussion and educational experiences. WITF engages minds and enriches lives. For more information, visit witf.org