We launched our Public Voices Fellowship at Dartmouth College in October 2012. The 17 faculty fellows – some of the nation’s most brilliant thinkers – convened four times between October 2012 and July 2013, for day-long interactive, game-based seminars around themes of knowledge (expertise, credibility, persuasion, addressing opposition, thinking expansively); connection (how to increase the opportunities for cross-pollination and better understand the links between your knowledge and public events); contagion (the mechanisms by which ideas spread farther and faster today than ever before – and how to harness them, with awareness of the philosophical implications); and legacy (why do we do what we do? And what impact do we leave behind as public thought leaders?).
Dartmouth Fellows also joined monthly calls with media insiders (including editors and producers from The New York Times, TED, CNN, NPR, The Melissa Harris-Perry Show and more), shared experiences and ideas daily via a Dartmouth Public Voices group email, and worked with top journalists (Katherine Lanpher, Catherine O’Neill Grace, E.J. Graff, Katie Orenstein and Chloe Angyal) who collaborated with the fellows during the convenings and also worked with them one-on-one throughout the year to think as expansively as possible about the value of their research in the public sphere, and to develop and refine their ideas into concrete outcomes, for public good.
Between them, Dartmouth Public Voices fellows had 44 major media successes (a success rate of 258%, exceeding the stated goals of the program), on an expansive range of issues from Syria to internet anonymity to animal rights. Fellows published in The New York Times, CNN, The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, WGBH Boston Public Radio, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, ABC News, Quartz.com (associated with The Atlantic) and The Guardian, among others. In our final convening, fellows also reflected on and presented visual answers to the question, Why do you do what you do? (See photo slide show.)
A few publication highlights from the year: Sharlene Mollett’s piece for Alternet on US efforts to fight drug trafficking brought her three offers to get involved in other research projects. Lisa Baldez’s piece in The Christian Science Monitor on the Senate refusal to ratify a UN disabilities treaty was widely shared by other media; her piece on the United Nations’ Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) ran on CNN. Sonu Bedi’s piece on same sex marriage in the Supreme Court made it to the front of the Huffington Post’s Politics Page as well as Gay Rights page, and was also included in their breaking news coverage. Jennifer Lind had fifteen successes, including essays and op-eds on CNN, Foreign Policy and The Washington Post, as well as interviews on The Wall Street Journal Radio and Bloomberg news, and mentions on ABCnews.com. One piece by Jennifer on CNN.com (“Will China finally ‘bite’ North Korea?“) reached more than a half million page views—an OpEd Project record.
Philosopher Susan Brison wrote about sexual violence (including her own experience) and marriage equality for Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post. Emboldened by her Public Voices experience, Veronika Fuechtner protested a campus appearance by a German politician who admitted plagiarizing his dissertation. She was the highlight of political news coverage in Germany, and was subsequently invited to contribute to The New York Times “Room for Debate’’ series. Meanwhile Colleen Boggs opined on Internet Trolls and Women Writers in the Huffington Post, and also asked, in an op-ed in The Guardian: “We are quick to punish animals that attack humans, but what about the reverse – such as the Ringling Bros elephant shooting?”