• The Power of Story Through Poetry with Maggie Smith

    Rebroadcast Dates: June 1-7, 2020

    Air Dates: July 22-28, 2019

    Poems provide readers with frames of reference, a lens through which to see the world. Maggie Smith shares the inspiration, personal experience, and context behind her award-winning poems, including her most-recent collection, “Good Bones,” which was published to critical acclaim. 

    Smith is the author of three books of poetry: “Good Bones,” “The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison” and “Lamp of the Body.” Her poems are widely published and anthologized, appearing in many publications, including: Best American Poetry, the New York Times, Tin House, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2016 her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Public Radio International called it “the official poem of 2016.”

    Smith says the essence of her poem, “Good Bones,” describes the good that can be found in the midst of darkness, which has contributed to its popularity during times of great foreign and domestic tragedy. She says the poem has become a “disaster barometer,” attributing the spikes of engagement with the poem “to the hopefulness that’s in it, people in the midst of those tragedies were saying, there’s still something good here.”

    Of “Good Bones,” poet D.A. Powell says, “Smith’s poems affirm the virtues of humanity: compassion, empathy, and the ability to comfort one another when darkness falls. ‘There is a light,’ she tells us, ‘and the light is good.’”

    “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 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. “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.

  • “Story in the Public Square” Scores Two Wins in 41st Annual Telly Awards

    NEWPORT, RI – “Story in the Public Square” has been awarded both silver and bronze awards for Best Political/Commentary in Television for the 41st Annual Telly Awards. This is the third consecutive year with a Telly Award win for the show.

    The Telly Awards honor excellence in video and television across all screens as judged by leaders from video platforms, television and streaming networks, agencies, and production companies including Vice, Vimeo, Hearst Digital Media, BuzzFeed, and A&E Network.  “Story in the Public Square” was honored with a Silver award for its 2019 episode featuring Daniel Okrent, prize-winning author of “The Guarded Gate” on the remarkable history of the bigotry that lay at the heart of the Immigration Act of 1924.  “Story in the Public Square” also won a Bronze for its 2019 episode with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of “What the Eyes Don’t See,” a memoir of her role in exposing the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.  “Story in the Public Square” is an initiative to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter.  Hosts Jim Ludes from the Pell Center at Salve Regina University and G. Wayne Miller of The Providence Journal sit down each week with authors, scholars, and storytellers of all kinds to make sense of the narratives shaping public life in the United States.

    In announcing this year’s awards, Sabrina Dridje, Managing Director of the Telly Awards, said, “Undoubtedly, this has been an unprecedented season for our entire industry. The global impact of COVID-19 has shaken the film, video, and television industries in ways we could not have imagined.  Every year since the inaugural Telly Awards in 1979, Telly Winners have reflected the top tier of our industry, and this year, even more so,” continued Dridje.  “We are truly thrilled to recognize ’Story in the Public Square’ as a standard bearer of television excellence.”

    “We are so grateful to the Telly Awards for this recognition.  From the beginning, we have known that this show works because of our guests—gifted, generous story tellers who share their remarkable talents with our audience each week,” said Ludes who also serves as Executive Director of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University.  “They and our incredible crew are the reason the Telly Awards recognized ‘Story in the Public Square,’ and we are grateful.”

    “I join Jim in thanking our entire staff, our wonderful Rhode Island PBS crew, our many amazing guests, our partner “The Providence Journal,” and our public television and SiriusXM Radio audiences,” said Miller.  “A very high standard has been set for a show that began with nothing but conversations Jim and I had a few years ago, and we will do all we can to keep meeting it.”

    The show was honored in the 40th Annual Telly Awards with a Bronze in the same category for its 2018 episode on the death penalty featuring Sr. Helen Prejean, the author of “Dead Man Walking” and in the 39th Annual Telly Awards with a Bronze for its 2017 end of year special featuring Dr. Evelyn Farkas.

    “Story in the Public Square” airs on over 300 public television stations across the United States in 488 broadcasts each week.  Locally, the show can be seen 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, and 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. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center at Salve Regina University and The Providence Journal.

    Today’s winners announcement caps a year-long celebration of creators around the globe and across all screens. Continuing on from the inaugural Film & Video Screening Tour last season, The Telly Awards toured a selection of Telly Award winning work to London, NYC, Amsterdam and Toronto, culminating with an online event. This year also saw the continued expansion of new categories further to the awards’ recent initiative to rebuild the honors for the multi-screen era. New categories included serialized Branded Content and expanded Social Video and Immersive & Mixed Reality categories, alongside new categories honoring important work in Social Impact and Diversity & Inclusion.

    Last year, The Telly Awards attracted more than 12,000 entries from top video content producers including Adult Swim, the BBC, Condé Nast, Complex Networks, Netflix, Refinery29, RadicalMedia, T Brand Studio and Ogilvy & Mather.  The Telly Awards were founded in 1979 to honor excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after. With the recent evolution and rise of digital video (web series, VR, 360 and beyond), the Telly Awards today also reflects and celebrates this exciting new era of the moving image on and offline.

    The full list of the 41st Annual Telly Awards winners can be found here.

  • Disinformation and Russian Intelligence with Michael Isikoff

    Rebroadcast Dates: May 25-31, 2020

    Original Air Dates: October 14-20, 2019

    In the early morning hours of July 10, 2016, a young staffer for the Democratic National Committee was murdered as he walked home from a bar.  Without any real evidence, Seth Rich’s death became a focal point for efforts to debunk the story that Russia hacked the DNC to help Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.  Michael Isikoff, however, tells us that the conspiracy theories around Seth Rich’s murder have a remarkable origin: Russian intelligence. 

    Isikoff is an investigative journalist who is currently the Chief Investigative Correspondent at Yahoo News.  He is also the co-author with of the 2018 book, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.”  Isikoff previously served as the national investigative correspondent for NBC News and Newsweek, writing extensively on the U.S. government’s War on Terrorism, the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, campaign finance, presidential politics, and other national issues.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Isikoff discusses the divisive issues Russia seeks to perpetuate.  He cites the ideological “silos” social media creates as one of the key factors in the disinformation equation, saying, “it is hard to overstate how insidious this sort of thing is, because disinformation in the social media age is now the ‘way we do business.’”  Isikoff emphasizes how difficult discussions about serious issues facing the country can be when everyone remains in their own silo.

    “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 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. “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.

  • White Identity Politics with Ashley Jardina

    Rebroadcast Dates: May 11-17, 2020

    Air Dates: August 5-11, 2019

    Identity politics are typically associated with marginalized groups—communities that have been defined as “other” by the dominant group in a political culture. Ashley Jardina argues that there is an emerging white-identity politics in American society today. 

    Jardina is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke University.  Her book White Identity Politics explores the nature of racial attitudes, the development of group identities, and the way in which these factors influence political preferences and behavior.  She is primarily interested in how Americans respond to increasing diversity, and her current project explores the conditions under which white racial identification and white consciousness among white Americans is a salient and significant predictor of policies, candidates, and attitudes toward racial and ethnic groups.

    In her interview on “Story in the Public Square,” Jardina describes her population of interest as the portion of the American white population whose sense of white ethnic identity is important to them. She says that this segment of whites “are interested in preserving a system of racial inequality because they benefit from it.”  When co-host G. Wayne Miller asked about the source of the ideas behind strong white identity, Jardina explains that for these whites, demographics, among other factors, can trigger fear, saying, “when white people read census projections, they are more likely to…support politicians who they think will protect their group…” and even “become more politically conservative” as a result. 

    “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 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. “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.

  • Gun Violence as a Public Health Crisis with Joseph Sakran

    Rebroadcast Dates: May 4-10, 2020

    Air Dates: September 23-29, 2019

    On an otherwise typical Friday night in 1994, 17-year-old Joseph Sakran, a high school student in Northern Virginia, was shot through his throat by an errant bullet from a fight at a high school football game.  Trauma surgeons saved his life, launching him on a career as a trauma surgeon and as a leading voice against gun violence. 

    Dr. Joseph Sakran is the Director of Emergency General Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital with additional expertise in General Surgery, Minimally Invasive Surgery, and Robotic and Laparoscopic Surgery.  He also specializes in injury prevention, outcomes research, trauma system development, public policy and advancement of surgery in poor resource settings.  Sakran is one of the nation’s leading professional voices against gun violence, dealing with it as both a public-health and political issue.  He is founder of Docs Demand Action, a “movement of Americans demanding common sense solutions to end gun violence in our nation.”

    In his interview on “Story in the Public Square,” Sakran emphasizes his view of gun violence as a public health crisis.  He, like many healthcare professionals, experiences the daily effects of gun violence whose victims’ stories often go untold.  Sakran calls for systemic change that will make it less-likely for people to be impacted by gun violence.

    “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 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. “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.

  • Nuala Pell Leadership Program Selects Fellows for 2020-2021

    Newport RI—Ten rising juniors and seniors at Salve Regina University have been selected as fellows for the Nuala Pell Leadership Program for 2020-2021.  This innovative leadership development program is run by the Pell Center and is named in honor of the wife of U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell.  The program facilitates leadership development for the twenty-first century through monthly meetings where students will explore leadership theory, ethics, evolution of public issues and what it takes to be a leader in the public sector.  This cohort will also travel to Washington D.C. in the spring of 2021 to meet with Congressional leaders, policy makers, and others.

    “I’m so excited to see what this new group discovers.  It’s a new day, and it needs a new kind of leadership—built on the combination of empathy and information.”  Martha McCann Rose, program director.

    “The impulse to serve others is as special and profound today as at any time in American history,” said Jim Ludes, Pell Center executive director. “We are excited to get these students back on our campus and work with them over the coming year.”

    The 2020-2021 cohort of Nuala Pell Leadership Program fellows include:

    • Ana Inciarte, Biology, Norwalk, CT           
    • Brittany Bailey, Administration of Justice, New Haven, CT
    • Ryan Miech, Art, Coventry, RI
    • Izabella Mangual-Solivan, Global Studies, Southington, CT
    • Evan Elichalt, American History, Falmouth, MA 
    • Kyra Dezjot, Secondary Education & History, East Lyme, CT
    • Tyler McPhee, Political Science, Wakefield, RI
    • Makenzie Sadler, Secondary Education & History, Mystic, CT
    • Callie Crowston-Hickey, Psychology, Pine Meadow, CT 
    • Connor Welsh, Biology, Middletown, NJ
  • Bridging The Divide With Susan Rice

    Rebroadcast Dates: April 27-May 3, 2020

    Air Dates: December 9-15, 2019

    Politics, it’s often said, is a tough game.  But lost in the back and forth over policies are the lives of public servants who pay a very real toll for their service.  Ambassador Susan Rice knows that experience better than most.

    Rice served as the U.S. National Security Advisor under President Barak Obama from 2013 to 2017.  She was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2009, serving until 2013.  Rice was a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution from 2002 to 2009, where she focused on U.S. foreign policy, the implications of global poverty, and transnational threats to security.  She also served on the National Security Council and as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during President Bill Clinton’s second term.  After serving as National Security Advisor, Rice joined American University as a distinguished visiting research fellow in the School of International Service.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” co-host Jim Ludes asks Rice if she considers the divisiveness in American politics a liability to national security.  “It’s huge,” Rice said, calling it “our greatest national security vulnerability right now.”  She says our adversaries clearly recognize these divisions and understand that they can weaken us by leveraging these divisions through the media, “[setting] Americans against one another and cause us to hate and distrust each other more than ever.”

    “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 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. “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.

  • The Social Impact of Story with Danny Strong

    Rebroadcast Dates: April 20-26, 2020

    Air Dates: July 29-August 4, 2019

    “Story in the Public Square” began as an annual, academic conference at Salve Regina University.  When we honored Danny Strong with the 2014 Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square, his acceptance speech was so moving, so incisive, and so eloquent about the power of story that a public television executive in the audience asked if she could broadcast it.  She did, and the rest is history.

    Danny Strong is one of today’s most prolific TV and big-screen talents with almost 50 acting credits, 11 screenwriting credits, eight producer credits and three directing credits. For screenwriting, he is best known for “Recount,” “Game Change,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” and “Mockingjay,” the two-part “Hunger Games” finale.  Strong is also known for the 2019 TV series “Proven Innocent” and the 2017 film “Rebel in the Rye,” both of which he directed.  His most notable acting roles include appearances as characters on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Mad Men,” “Justified,” and “Billions.” He is co-creator and executive producer of the smash-hit “Empire.”

    Strong’s “Game Change,” the 2012 HBO production about the 2008 presidential election, won a Golden Globe, a primetime Emmy, a Writers Guild of America Award, and a Producers Guild of America Award.  Additionally, his 2008 HBO film “Recount,” about the 2000 presidential election, won an Emmy.  Strong has also won an NAACP Image Award for “Empire” and was nominated for a Critics Choice Award and a Golden Globe for the show.

    Strong uses film to tell stories with social impact, as he finds this kind of art to be “the most powerful,” making his work in film “more dynamic [and] thought provoking.”

    “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 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. “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.

  • Dead Man Walking: Life, Death and Justice with Sister Helen Prejean

    Rebroadcast Dates: April 13-19, 2020

    Original Air Dates: April 21-27, 2018

    Since 1976, nearly 1,500 Americans have been executed in the name of justice. Sister Helen Prejean though, cautions about the human cost of the death penalty and the innocent victims wrongfully put to death.

    Sister Helen Prejean joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille in 1957, now known as the Congregation of St. Joseph, and received a B.A. in English and Education from St. Mary’s Dominican College in New Orleans in 1962.  In 1973, she earned an M.A. in Religious Education from St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Canada.  She has been the Religious Education Director at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in New Orleans, the Formation Director for her religious community, and has taught junior and senior high school students.

    Sister Helen began her prison ministry in 1981 when she dedicated her life to the poor of New Orleans.  While living in the St. Thomas housing project, she began written correspondence with Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers, sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison.

    Upon Sonnier’s request, Sister Helen visited him as his spiritual advisor. During her visits, her eyes were opened to the Louisiana execution process, an experience that became the basis for her book, “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.” The book made the 1994 American Library Associates Notable Book List and was first on the New York Times Best Seller List for 31 weeks.  It also was an international bestseller and has been translated into ten different languages.

    In January 1996, the book was developed into a major motion picture.  The movie received four Oscar nominations including Tim Robbins for Best Director, Sean Penn for Best Actor, Susan Sarandon for Best Actress, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dead Man Walking” for Best Song. Susan Sarandon won the award for Best Actress.

    Sister Helen’s second book, “The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions,” tells the story of two men, Dobie Gillis Williams, and Joseph O’Dell, whom she accompanied to their executions. She examines the evidence of both cases and describes the flaws in the criminal justice system inevitably lead to innocent people being executed.

    Fifteen years after beginning her crusade, the Roman Catholic sister has witnessed five executions in Louisiana and educates the public about the death penalty through lecturing, organizing, and writing. She founded “Survive,” a victims advocacy group in New Orleans, and continues to counsel inmates on death row and the families of murder victims.

    This episode earned “Story in the Public Square” its second consecutive bronze award for best political/commentary in television in the 40th Annual Telly Awards in 2018.

    “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 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. “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.

  • Rising: A Live, Social-Distancing Conversation with Elizabeth Rush

    Newport RI—On April 2, 2020, the Pell Center’s Facebook page become a virtual lecture hall, welcoming hundreds of viewers for a live conversation with Elizabeth Rush, co-hosted by the Pell Center and the Rhode Island Center for the Book.  Rush is the author of “Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore,” this year’s Reading Across Rhode Island state-wide read, a Rhode Island Center for the Book program.  Pell Center executive director, Jim Ludes, served as moderator, fielding live audience questions posted by viewers from his home office.

    Rush began the conversation with a reading from “Rising,” where she described visiting the Rhode Island shore after moving there from New York, an experience that served as a source of inspiration for the book.  it took three years for Rush to take her writing from sheer facts to the narrative, lyrical quality of her writing in “Rising,” by digging into her poetic roots, she created a reader experience that gives due attention to the issues of climate change and allowed her to make a lasting impact on readers.

    Rush began telling the story of climate change when she lived in Bangladesh and described feeling compelled to bring the story of sea level rise closer to home by writing about its impacts on American shores.

    As she dug deeper into the effects of climate change, she realized “those who are most vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise often tend to be lower income communities of color, communities that are vulnerable in other ways too.”  Rush said this juxtaposed her expectation of writing about “second home owners in barrier island towns.”  She noted that the land values along our coastal wetlands have been historically cheap, making them a haven for displaced and indigenous peoples who could not afford to live elsewhere.

    Rush described feeling an “overwhelming sense of despair” when digging deeper into understanding the effects of climate change.  She emphasized the necessity of experiencing these feelings and said it is important to “pass through feelings of fear and grief to be able to act in ways the current crisis demands.”

    Recognizing the context of this conversation in the current public health crisis, Jim Ludes compared the dramatic effects of the coronavirus that have resulted from inadequate preparation to what could result from similar attitudes about climate change on a similar scale.  To his point, Rush described a study that stated, “every dollar spent on flood prevention saves six dollars down the line.”  She again noted the distribution of ill-effects felt by such crises would not be evenly distributed throughout the population and would affect more vulnerable segments of the population disproportionately. 

    Rush described her role as a writer to inspire positive action in the lives of readers.  She believes action begins with teaching people how to recognize the ways sea level rise impacts the world around them, then laying out the pathways for readers to make a difference in their own lives. 

    Rush said her optimism has surged with the changes she sees in societal engagement with climate change and people recognizing the impacts of human life on the natural world.

    Watch this conversation here.