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

Stories of Hope and Renewal in America’s Heartland with Art Cullen

Air Dates: January 24-30, 2022 Rebroadcast Dates: September 26-October 2, 2022 The rise of instant updates from today’s online news sources have left many to regard the local newspaper as a thing of the past.  But Art Cullen describes how he and his family have kept Iowa’s Storm Lake Times newspaper alive and prosperous in the digital age. Cullen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and editor of The Storm Lake … Read More

Examining Maternal Health Disparities Among Women of Color with Ade Osinubi

Air Dates: September 19-25, 2022 For most mothers, pregnancy is a time of hope, expectation, and even fear.  Dr. Ade Osinubi focuses the lens—literally—on the maternal health challenges facing black women in the United States—the legacy of racism, staggering numbers of maternal mortality, postpartum depression, and difficulties accessing care. Adeiyewunmi (Ade) Osinubi is a documentary filmmaker, photographer, and an Emergency Medicine Resident Physician.  Her work focuses on sharing the stories … Read More

Javed Ali on National Security Priorities 21 Years after 9/11

Air Dates: September 12-18, 2022 For most of the last 20 years, the conversation about American national security has been focused on the threats posed by extremists.  With the death of al Qaeda Leader Ayman al Zawahiri, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and rising tensions with China, Javed Ali argues that conversation has swung back to great-power competition. Ali is an associate professor of practice at the Gerald R. Ford School … Read More

Examining Health Outcomes Among Black Americans with Linda Villarosa

Air Dates: September 5-11, 2022 People come from all over the world to access cutting-edge care in American hospitals.  But Linda Villarosa describes a different experience for Black Americans, who she says “live sicker, and die quicker” than their white compatriots. Villarosa is a journalist, author, editor, novelist and educator.  A contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, where she covers race, inequality and health.  Her 2018 cover story, … Read More