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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

From Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump: Exploring the Modern Presidency With Robert Dallek

Air Dates: August 10-16, 2020 The history of the American presidency is full of accomplishments and compromises, successes and failures.  Robert Dallek argues that the giants from both parties in the last 120 years draw a sharp contrast with the characteristics of the Trump presidency.  Robert Dallek is the author of several bestselling presidential histories, including “Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power; An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963,” and … Read More

The Reign Beauty Pageants in America With Hillary Levey Friedman

Air Dates: August 3-9, 2020 Whether you love them or hate them, beauty pageants continue to play a significant role in American popular culture.  Hillary Levey Friedman argues that their evolution is wrapped up in the history of feminism in the United States.  Hilary Levey Friedman is a sociologist and expert on beauty pageants, childhood and parenting, competitive afterschool activities, and popular culture.  She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Education … Read More

Appreciating the Obituary with Mo Rocca

Air Dates: July 27-August 2, 2020 There are some really great dead people.  Mo Rocca helps us remember them in part through his own appreciation of the obituary.  Humorist, journalist and actor Mo Rocca is best known for his off-beat news reports and satirical commentary.  He is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, Rocca and the host of CBS’s series The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation.  The show features stories about some of … Read More

Public Health and Native Populations with Donald Warne

Air Dates: July 20-26, 2020 The coronavirus pandemic has affected some communities worse than others—drawing into specific relief decades of data on health disparities.  Dr. Donald Warne warns that the impact has been particularly grave for Native Americans.  Donald Warne, MD, MPH is the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as the Director of the Indians Into Medicine (INMED) and Master of Public Health Programs, and Professor … Read More