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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

Fighting Misinformation and the Pandemic with Ashish Jha

Air Dates: October 19-25, 2020 Whatever the final count of fatalities is in the United States from the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost is already far too high.  Dr. Ashish Jha reminds us that there are still simple things that Americans can do to stay safe, to stay healthy, and to help fight the pandemic. Jha is a practicing physician and is the Dean of the Brown School of Public Health … Read More

Russia’s History of Covert Electoral Influence with David Shimer

Air Dates: October 12-18, 2020 Over the last four years, Americans have heard a lot about Russian interference in our elections. David Shimer says we haven’t heard the whole story about the Cold War, 2016, or 2020. Shimer is an expert on election security, U.S.-Russian relations, and covert action.  He is the author of “Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference,” a New York Times Editors’ … Read More

Child and Adolescent Mental Health in the COVID-19-Era with Gayani DeSilva

Air Dates: October 5-11, 2020 Pandemic, social unrest–Americans of every age are coping with the mental health consequences of this era.  Dr. Gayani DeSilva cautions that the challenges of being a child or adolescent currently poses special health risks. DeSilva has been a psychiatrist for 15 years and focusses on enhancing the mental health of children and adolescents and their families.  Much of her work addresses the complex array of … Read More

A Public Health Perspective on COVID-19 with Megan Ranney

Air Dates: September 28-October 4, 2020 COVID-19 has put America’s top doctors on the frontlines of a battle to save lives.  Dr. Megan Ranney spends her days at the front, working in an urban emergency room where her training in public health and emergency medicine give her unique insights about the pandemic and the nation’s response. Ranney is a practicing emergency physician and researcher, focusing on the intersection between digital … Read More