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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

Making the Case for Multiparty Democracy with Lee Drutman

Air Dates: November 23-29, 2020 America’s founders feared the rise of political factions that would pit Americans against Americans.  Lee Drutman warns that the founders’ greatest nightmares have come true and threaten the health and welfare of our republic. Dr. Lee Drutman is a senior fellow in the Political Reform program at New America.  He is the author of “Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in … Read More

Extraterrestrial Exploration with Andrew Siemion

Air Dates: November 16-22, 2020 Science fiction is full of stories about communication and contact with civilizations beyond the stars.  Andrew Siemion leads a multi-national effort to scan the heavens for indications of intelligent life. Dr. Andrew Siemion is an astrophysicist and director of the Berkeley Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Research Center. His research interests include high-energy time-variable celestial phenomena, astronomical instrumentation and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Siemion … Read More

“Story in the Public Square” to Debut Sixth National Season on Public Television January 4, 2021

NEWPORT, RI–The four-time Telly Award-winning series “Story in the Public Square” will continue to broadcast across the United States with the debut of its sixth national season beginning January 4, 2021, the show announced. The season will feature 24 new episodes. The show has been in production since January 2017 on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and in southeastern New England from its flagship TV station, Rhode Island PBS.  “Story in the … Read More

Exploring Loss, Creativity and Change with Maggie Smith

Air Dates: November 9-15, 2020 It is one of the cruel realities of life for every nation and every individual: we all suffer loss and disappointment.  Maggie Smith is a poet whose new book offers wisdom—and hope—for anyone who knows that pain. Smith is the author of four books of poetry, including “Good Bones,” “The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison” and “Lamp of the Body.”  Her latest book, “Keep … Read More