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Story in the Public Square

Lisa Genova receiving Pell Center Prize in 2015

Studying and celebrating public storytelling in American politics and culture.

Storytelling is an ancient and underappreciated element of public life. Think of Christ’s parables or Plato’s dialogues – both used stories to communicate, instruct, inspire and persuade. In the American experience, think of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which fueled the abolitionist movement prior to the Civil War, or Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” which contributed to a wave of reform and regulation in American industry.

However they are communicated (film, books, word of mouth, blogs, among other means), stories have the ability to touch listeners and viewers in a way that the cold hard facts of exposition never can.

Stories, of course, are like any tool that can be used in many ways. They can be either truthful or untruthful. They can illuminate or obscure important facts. They can educate or they can propagandize.

Hosted by Jim Ludes, Executive Director of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, and G. Wayne Miller, senior staff writer at The Providence Journal, “Story in the Public Square” features interviews with today’s best print, screen, music, and other storytellers about their creative processes and how their stories impact public understanding and policy.

The audio version of “Story in the Public Square” airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. Episodes are also broadcast 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.

You can listen to the official podcast and download episodes for free on our Story in the Public Square show page as well as on iTunes, SpotifyGoogle Play, Google Podcast, TuneIn, and Stitcher.

“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.

Recent Story in the Public Square Blog Posts

Telling the Stories of the Greatest Generation with Tim Gray

Air Dates: April 12-18, 2021 Stories from the Second World War continue to educate, fascinate, and even entertain audiences around the world. Tim Gray tells those stories to educate a new generation about the horrors of war and the heroism of the generation that saved the free world. Gray is a national award-winning documentary film director, producer and writer who has produced and directed 17 documentary films on the personal … Read More

Addressing the Impacts of our Changing Climate with Michael Oppenheimer

Air Dates: April 5-11, 2021 Some call it climate change, others call it a crisis, and still others call it a hoax.  Dr. Michael Oppenheimer tells us to take seriously the impact climate change will have in all of our lives. Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), the Department of Geosciences, and the High … Read More

The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Immigration Act of 1924 with Daniel Okrent

Rebroadcast Dates: March 29-April 4, 2021 Air Dates: October 28-November 3, 2019 This episode of “Story in the Public Square” received the Silver award for Best Political/Commentary in Television in the 41st-Annual Telly Awards.  In 1924, a new American law ended the wave of immigration to this country that had begun in the 19th century.  Hundreds of thousands of southern- and eastern-European immigrants had entered the United States each year … Read More

Untangling News-Media Bias with Vanessa Otero

Air Dates: March 21-29, 2021 Anybody on social media has seen it: dueling posts, arguing over a hot political issue. The protagonists in these online debates are generally sincere in their convictions, but Vanessa Otero says that too many of us remain unaware of the media biases that shape our understanding of the world. Otero is the creator of the Media Bias Chart®, the viral image that rates news organizations … Read More