The Story of Bill Sackter – Inspirational, Moving and Impactful

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00:11:39 minutes

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date

Spring 4-1-2014


Rhetoric 0036


Anna Williams


This podcast focuses on uncovering the history of Bill Sackter and the impact that he has left on the community of Iowa City and around the world.

This podcast looks beyond the fact that Bill was a wonderful man, and instead focuses on his history and the impact he left on many people. We decided to interview Jefri, the manager of Wild Bill's, Stacia, the student manager of the coffee shop, and Bart, an adult employee with disabilities. By interviewing a variety of people (although all are credible), we were able to examine this topic from different perspectives. The three perspectives each offered a unique insight, but all had a common theme, proving Bill's true impact.

Our narrative on Bill Sackter focuses on a legendary man and his story as heard from the Iowa City community. Because Bill had such a serious impact on the community when he came to the University of Iowa around the early 1970s, we employed an emotionally driven narrative to truly find Bill Sackter’s lasting legacy through those who knew him personally, those who did not, and those with similar disability situations as Bill. We interviewed Jefri Palermo, Stacia Scott and Bart Smothers. All three of these individuals gave us insight of what Bill Sackter went through, who he was as a person and the effects he left on the people of Iowa City, as well as different people around the world. He especially impacted the lives of other adults with disabilities and helped break down the stereotypes against people with disabilities. While conducting these interviews, we used various techniques that we learned in class, especially those from Heinrich’s Thank You for Arguing.

Jefri Palermo personally knew Bill Sackter while she was in college at the school of social work. We wanted to have someone in our podcast like Jefri because she not only created a very emotional environment during our interview because she knew Bill, but she also demonstrated her credibility because she knew him personally. She also exhibited her credibility because she is the current manager of Wild Bill’s Coffeeshop and is able to see everything that goes on behind the scenes. We had a similar situation while interviewing Stacia, the student manager of the shop. Stacia, not knowing Bill, acted as a credible source of Bill’s story because she learned from reading about him and being at the coffee shop almost every day. We used a lot of what she has read about Bill in our podcast because it was from credible news sources or through word of mouth. The news sources include those in the Iowa City community (The Daily Iowan, etc.) and word of mouth can pertain to a great number of those in Iowa City. This created an impactful part of our podcast that not only showed the emotions of someone who did not personally know Bill, but again showed how Bill lives on in the hearts of many. Finally, interviewing Bart was helpful because Bart’s interview showed how much the coffee shop impacts adults with disabilities.

One of the techniques we applied from class to this project was Heinrich's technique of getting the audience to like you. Heinrich believes that in order to get the most out of your audience (or in our case, the people that we are interviewing), you need to create strong, trusting relationships. We began to do this when we first started writing our paper, because we met Stacia and interviewed her for the first time during that project. We also spent a lot of time in Wild Bill’s, showing the workers and managers that we were dedicated to this project and weren’t just trying to get it done so that we could get a good grade. Through our extensive research and many hours spent in the coffee shop, we established good relationships with those in the shop. When we began to work on our podcast, it was then much easier to get the information we needed from different people. Stacia already felt comfortable talking to us, and was pleased at how interested we still were in the topic. When we met Jefri, she, too, could tell how enthusiastic we were to learn more from her. Finally, it was very important that we made Bart feel comfortable talking to us, so that he wouldn’t shy away from giving us useful information. We talked with him every now and then when we were in and out of the coffee shop and so when it came time to interview him, he felt much more comfortable.

Another technique that we applied from Heinrich’s Thank You for Arguing is how to construct a persuasive argument. When the audience begins listening to our podcast, they will notice our established credibility because of the interviews with credible people. They will also be affected by our persuasive argument because of the way we have constructed our podcast. We understand from Heinrich that a persuasive argument has to be not only credible, but also organized in a manner that is easy for the audience to follow. When creating our podcast, we made sure to use clear transitions when moving from one topic or interview to another. This allowed for our audience to be able to follow along easily.


Copyright © 2014 Samantha Kistler, Stephanie Coupland, Jose Diaz and Christian Marquez



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