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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

Truth and Panic

In May of 1940, the German Army nearly won the war in Europe.  After invading the low countries, their forces swung left and engaged a joint British and French army.  As German forces swept across Belgium, Belgian resistance collapsed and its king, Leopold, capitulated.  British and French forces were driven onto a sliver of beach in the small port city of Dunkirk.  On those sands, the remnants of the British ... Read More

Tackling Social Inequality in American Education with Eve Ewing

Air dates: September 14-20, 2020 The artist’s role in society is to challenge us, to shine a mirror on our strengths and to expose our weaknesses.  Through a remarkable body of work—poetry, visual arts, rigorous scholarship on race and society, as well as ground breaking work in comic books, Eve Ewing does just that. Ewing is an Assistant Professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.  She … Read More

“Quick Hits” News with David Shuster

Air Dates: September 7-13, 2020 Journalists often have a front row seat as history unfolds. Over the last 30 years, David Shuster has witnessed a scandal in Arkansas that reverberated in Washington, the attacks of 911, America’s Wars and every presidential campaign in between. Shuster is an Emmy award winning broadcast journalist who is best known for his work at NBC News and MSNBC where he hosted his own news … Read More

Reporting on the Portland Protests with Noelle Crombie

Air Dates: August 31-September 6, 2020 While national media coverage often swoops in to cover local stories with national significance, local reporters are typically there from the beginning.  They know the details.  They know the sequence of events.  And they know the community in which they are reporting.  Noelle Crombie knows Portland as well as anyone and she’s been reporting on the protests and violence in that beautiful city. Crombie … Read More