Public Voices Fellows Broaden Their Relevancy

Amalia Kessler of the Public Voices Fellowship Program at Stanford University made it into the New York Times last week!

Her article “Stuck in Arbitration”  explains how in our modern world, teeming as it is with terms and conditions, we often fail to read the fine print when making purchases or applying for jobs, and thus increasingly find ourselves without the right to file a lawsuit if anything goes wrong.

Instead, says Kessler, we often have only the option of submitting to arbitration, a costly, lengthy process that operates outside the law and is often systematically biased by the arbitrators in favor of the companies that hire them.

Under this system, argues Kessler, consumers and workers “are left without recourse and must bear the cost of unfair, deceptive and harmful practices.”

She advocates the proposed Arbitration Fairness Act of 2011 as a step in the right direction. Fantastic piece! And so exciting that it was picked up by the New York Times!

Also in the op-ed pages recently was Leslie Gerwin, one of the Public Voices Fellows at Princeton University, whose opinion piece “Flu Season and Fiction: What Downton Abbey and Contagion Tell Us About Facing Reality” ran on the Huffington Post.

Drawing together the threads of popular entertainment and public health, Gerwin presents an argument for how the popularity of a rosier portrayal of influenza (presented by Downton Abbey) and the unpopularity of a plausible worst-case scenario (such as the portrayed in Contagion) tells us something about our denial to face the threat of a deadly pandemic in real life. Tremendously important topic framed in a compelling and surprising way. Thank you Leslie!

But it’s also good to be reminded of the fact that being relevant doesn’t necessarily mean being relegated to the 800 word format of an op-ed piece.

Christina Greer, professor of political science and Public Voices Fellow at Fordham University, demonstrated this beautifully by appearing on NY1 last week to weigh in on Super Tuesday predictions.

Introduced as one of the “top observers of the inner workings of democracy,” Greer commented on how Super PACs have changed the primaries into a much longer affair than is actually good for the Republican Party.

NY1 claims a viewership of about 4.5 million. Congrats Christina for broadening your relevancy into the seven digits!

Thanks to all who have published in recent weeks. And to those who haven’t, or have been slogging through the drafting process: keep thinking, keep writing, keep pitching! We need to hear the important things you have to say.

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