The latest episode of Politically Speaking will mark host Elizabeth Bennions tenth anniversary as host of the weekly public affairs program on WNIT Public Television. During her ten years as host, Bennion, Chancellors Professor of Political Science at IU South Bend, has interviewed elected officials, journalists, authors, academics, and other political practitioners about issues that affect the lives of viewers in Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana. Bennion currently serves as director of the campus American Democracy Project. Her teaching and published research focuses on political and civic education and engagement. She sees her work at host of Politically Speaking as an extension of this work.
The local programming, based in the WNIT studio in South Bend, takes an in-depth look at local, state, and national political issues, with a focus on the impact of policy decisions for Michiana viewers. Topics are wide ranging, including education, healthcare, taxation, and immigration policy, workforce development programs, affordable housing, water quality, drug policy, election reform, criminal justice reform, child abuse, community violence, civic education, and the role of the media, race, gender, and religion in contemporary politics. Election previews and legislative session previews and updates are also a regular part of the programming.
Key guests have included U.S. senators and representatives, state legislators, mayors, health department officials, and other people active in state and local policymaking in Michigan and Indiana like U.S. Senator Todd Young, U.S. Representative Fred Upton, the late U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, and former South Bend mayor and current Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
One of the best things about hosting Politically Speaking is the opportunity to model the type of informed and engaged dialogue we need in our community and our nation, said Bennion. In a world of hyper-partisanship and party polarization, I appreciate the opportunity to sit down with people with different backgrounds and ideological views to have productive conversations about our collective future.
The latest episode airs Monday, January 9 at 5PM. It is a state policy preview featuring Niki Kelly (editor-in-chief of the Indiana Capital Chronical), Kaitlin Lange (senior investigative reporter for State Affairs), and Brandon Smith (statehouse bureau chief for Indiana Public Broadcasting and host of Indiana Week in Review). Past episodes are available online at www.wnit.org/ps.