Change may be an essential part of human existence, but Jen Schwartz explores the dislocations in human society caused by the speed with which the world is changing around us.
Schwartz is a senior features editor at Scientific American who produces stories on the intersection of technology and the human condition. She specializes in writing about how society is adapting—or not—to a rapidly changing world, with a focus on climate change and digital disinformation. During the coronavirus pandemic she has written about the anguish of uncertainty, from the trauma of healthcare workers to the legacy of scientific racism to the chaos of media manipulation. She co-led the magazine’s 2019 special issue, “Truth, Lies & Uncertainty,” about making sense of reality in unreal times, and contributed an essay about how everyone is an agent in the new information warfare. Her feature, “Underwater,” about a New Jersey community that is radically adapting to sea-level rise, won the 2019 National Association of Science Writers “Science and Society” award. Schwartz previously worked as an editor or reporter at Popular Science, GQ, New York, Outside, Self, and The Boston Globe. She is a veteran researcher skilled in fact-checking and investigative reporting and holds a degree in journalism with a minor in environmental science from Boston University.
On this episode of “Story in the Public Square” Schwartz describes covering society’s adaptation to rapid changes including climate, technology, and most recently, the pandemic through her stories of individuals, communities, and ideas. She says, “in many ways, science is more about uncertainty than it is about certainty,” adding that the emphasis is on making the best decisions with what we do know, while considering what we don’t.
“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 3:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.