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“Story in the Public Square” Episodes

June 17, 2017: Thomas Patterson
The media’s role in modern American politics is that of investigator, arbitrator, and even king maker. Guest Thomas Patterson argues that, contrary to popular belief, media bias is not about left and right, but about positive and negative.
June 10, 2017: Joseph “Butch” Rovan
Music and art, like storytelling, are distinctively human creations. Joseph “Butch” Rovan works in both media to tell stories, challenge assumptions, and explore our humanity.
June 3, 2017: Karen Tramontano
In the aftermath of the Second World War, political leaders built a global system of free trade because they believed it was crucial to world peace. Like so much of the post-war order, that belief is under assault in the 21st century. Guest Karen Tramontano argues that free trade agreements can serve their original purpose even while helping workers.
May 27, 2017: John Farrell
With allegations of a cover-up and obstruction of justice circulating in Washington, Americans in 2017 are looking to the presidency of Richard Nixon for precedent and understanding. Our guest, John Farrell, literally wrote the book on Nixon’s life after his own career covering politics in Washington, DC.
May 20, 2017: Tricia Rose
After the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, Time Magazine asked if we had entered a post-racial America. From the perspective of 2017, the question seems ridiculous. Tricia Rose argues, in fact, that structural racism is the key driver of inequality in the United States.
May 13, 2017: Anthony Leiserowitz
Despite decades of consistent warning from the scientific community, the American public remains divided on the issue of climate change. Yale University’s Anthony Leiserowitz says there are six Americas in the climate debate—and you cannot communicate with each one in the same way.
May 6, 2017: Narges Bajoghli
Chemicals weapons are in the news again following their use against civilians in Syria. Western audiences might most commonly associate chemical weapons with the first World War a century ago, but this week’s guest Narges Bajoghli shares stories from veterans of a more recent conflict – the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980’s.
April 29, 2017: Paul Gionfriddo
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 50 million adult Americans live with a diagnosable mental health disorder. Despite its prevalence, our guest Paul Gionfriddo confronts a lot of myths in the discussion of mental health issues in America.
April 22, 2017: Alina Polyakova
According to the U.S. intelligence community, Russia intervened in America’s 2016 presidential campaign to benefit one candidate. As shocking as that revelation was, guest Alina Polyakova warns it’s all part of a broader pattern of Russian efforts directed against the West.
April 8, 2017: Kevin Doyle, Sauda Jackson
As long as there has been live theater, artists have grappled with the public issues of their day. From the ancient Greeks to today, theater has had the power to provoke, inspire, and challenge authorities and orthodoxies. Playwright-director Kevin Doyle and actor Sauda Jackson help us explore the power of theater.
April 1, 2017: Sean Kay
In 1958, Danny and the Juniors told us “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay,” and by the 1970s, punk had celebrated the triumvirate of “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.” Guest Sean Kay says rock and roll played a more substantial role in the history of the last half-century. It changed America and spread the values of freedom, equality, human rights and peace across the globe.
March 25, 2017: Robert Hackey
From Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, leaders on both sides of the political aisle have described the state of American healthcare in terms intended to scare and mobilize voters. Guest Bob Hackey argues that those cries of crisis have warped the healthcare debate.

March 18, 2017: Michael D. Kennedy

University professors and intellectuals are often dismissed as elites, divorced from real life and disconnected from the problems of real people. Guest Michael Kennedy sees their role differently and argues, in fact, that intellectuals and universities are agents of global change.

March 11, 2017: Michael Corkery

For every new regulation his administration issues, President Trump has said two regulations have to be eliminated – but what about the ordinary Americans many of these regulations were designed to protect? Are we heading back to the days of predatory lenders? Hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller sit down with Michael Corkery, a New York Times financial journalist, to try to make sense of the financial stories affecting Americans everywhere.
March 4, 2017: Irvin Scott
Everyone who has ever gone to school has something to say about teachers, about schools, and about education in general. But is popular opinion—fueled, often, by myth and anecdote—as valid as the considered judgments of educators and researchers? To help us make sense of the education debate, we’re joined by educational leader Dr. Irvin Scott.
February 25, 2017: Eric Bennett
Hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller are joined by Eric Bennet, a remarkably talented scholar and novelist whose work, whether for academic or popular audiences, traces the role of both narrative and truth in public life.

February 18, 2017: Katherine Brown

With the transfer of power in Washington, the stories the United States tells the world are changing, too. Hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller are joined by Katherine Brown, a public diplomacy professional who has served the United States from the corridors of Foggy Bottom to Kabul Afghanistan.
February 11, 2017: Marc Smerling
Politicians and voters may hate crime, but American audiences can’t get enough of shows like CSI or Law and Order. This week, we’re joined by Emmy-winning filmmaker Marc Smerling, who has intimately chronicled some of America’s most notorious criminals.

February 4, 2017: Jonathan Alexandratos

How we play and how we teach our children to play are tremendously important narratives in public life. Jonathan Alexandratos argues that “toys are texts,” and we should read them with the same analytical eye we bring to books, movies, songs, and other media.

January 28, 2017: Dan Fagin
Science is simultaneously celebrated, ignored, and criticized in public life. In this episode, hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller sit down with Pulitzer-Prize winning science journalist Dan Fagin to better understand the power of science to explain the world around us, whether we like what it’s telling us, or not. This episode is supported by The Pulitzer Prize Committee and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, whose commemoration of the centennial of the Pulitzer Prize is exploring the changing nature of journalism and the humanities in the digital age.

January 21, 2017: Christian Hopkins, Lorén Spears

One of the big stories of the last six months has been the protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline. This week on “Story in the Public Square,” two Native American activists talk about events on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and the role of storytelling in native culture.

January 14, 2017: Tom Nichols
The United States finds itself in the midst of an information war with an old adversary. This week, national security analyst Tom Nichols will help us understand the contours of that conflict, the role of storytelling in it, and also the implications of what he calls “the death of expertise.”.

October, 2016: Adam Zyglis

Pulitzer prize-winning editorial cartoonist Adam Zyglis discusses a cartoonist’s unique form of storytelling and the wide range of topics he has covered in his dozen years of professional cartooning.

September 2016: David Shuster
Emmy-winning broadcast journalist David Shuster discusses the narratives shaping the 2016 presidential campaign.

August 2016: Raina Kelley

Raina Kelley is the managing editor of ESPN’s new site, The Undefeated, a content initiative focused on the intersection of sports, race and culture.

July 2016: Javier Manzano
Manzano, a talented Pulitzer-prize winning photographer and documentary filmmaker, shared his story of covering the Syrian civil war and his work as a journalist in some of the world’s most dangerous places.
May 2016: Brian Goldner
Goldner talks about the use of narrative storytelling in the toy, TV and film industries; the challenges of running a global toy company; and the research with parents, children, internal staff and outside experts that goes into development of hundreds of products for all age groups.
April 2016: Tricia Rose
Brown University professor Tricia Rose joins hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller to discuss hip-hop, structural racism, and the role of race in the 2016 presidential campaign.
March 2016: Dan Barry
Dan Barry discusses his work and soon-to-be-released book, “The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland.” Set to be released May 17, 2016 by HarperCollins, Barry’s latest book tells the story of dozens of men with intellectual disabilities who spent decades working at an Iowa turkey-processing plant, living in an old schoolhouse, and enduring exploitation and abuse – before finding justice and achieving freedom.
March 2016: August Cole
This week on “Story in the Public Square,” author August Cole shared a glimpse of his experience writing a fictional novel that garnered so much attention as a possible future for the world as we know it.
February 2016: What is Story in the Public Square
Story in the Public Square is a partnership of the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.
February 2016: A New Partnership for White House Chronicle
The Pell Center at Salve Regina University will partner with “White House Chronicle,” a national PBS show with global reach, to produce episodes of “Story in the Public Square.”