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A New Kind of Conversation

Dialogue is a series of provocative discussions about the most challenging issues facing our community and country held in partnership with Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

Upcoming Events

The April Dialogue event has been canceled. Check back for details on May’s Dialogue event.

Past Events

Dialogue: LGBTQIA+ Rights Under Assault
February 7, 2023

2022 was a difficult year for the LGBTQIA+ population. A U.S. Supreme Court Justice suggested same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and state legislatures in Ohio and around the country introduced hundreds of bills targeting transgender rights.

A mass shooting at gay nightclub in Colorado killed five and wounded 19. A planned Drag Storytime in Columbus attracted protesters from a white nationalist organization. Despite acceptance by most Americans, LGBTQIA+ rights are under assault. This edition Dialogue examined the state of LGBTQIA+ rights and the debate over gender affirming medical care and will look for ways calm the debate.

The panelists for the discussion were:

  • Collin Marozzi, deputy director of the ACLU of Ohio
  • Densil Porteous, executive director of Stonewall Columbus
  • Z Tenney, Ohio State College of Pharmacy and community advocate

WOSU’s Ann Fisher moderated the discussion.


Dialogue: Rethinking Elections
November 15, 2022

With the nation so deeply polarized and candidates racing to their parties’ extremes, some are looking for different ways to run elections and pick those who represent us. Proposals range from top-two open primaries and ranked choice voting to abolishing the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College. This edition of Dialogue will explore alternatives to our current system, which many believe needs major reform.

This Dialogue discussion featured Gene Krebs, former state legislator and advocate for ranked choice voting, Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, and Jen Miller, executive director of The League of Women Voters of Ohio. Mike Thompson, WOSU’s news and public affairs chief content director, moderated the program.


Dialogue: Ohio’s New Economy
October 11, 2022

Intel’s plan to build a massive computer chip manufacturing complex in New Albany offers a glimpse of what’s next for Ohio’s economic future. Could Ohio move from the buckle of the rust belt to the hub of the silicone heartland? What other companies and industries could call Ohio home? The state’s next governor and new crop of leaders will guide this transformation, and this edition of Dialogue will examine the potential benefits and pitfalls of economic change.

The program featured Bill Shkurti, distinguished adjunct professor for the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and Fran Stewart, senior research associate for the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and the Ohio Manufacturing Institute. Matthew Rand, reporter for 89.7 NPR News, was the moderatator the program.

Dialogue: Post-Roe Ohio
September 13, 2022

Two months after The US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, the fight over abortion has moved to the state courts and state legislatures. Left to navigate the new reality are doctors, nurses, and of course, people seeking reproductive health care. The program featured Dr. Courtney Kerestes, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and Marc Spindelman, Isadore and Ida Topper professor of law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. This Dialogue discussion examined how Ohio and the rest of the country will adapt to a post-Roe world. Ann Fisher, host of All Sides with Ann Fisher on 89.7 NPR News, moderated the program.


Dialogue: The Great Resignation
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Two years after the pandemic largely shut down the economy and threw millions out of work, many have yet to return to their jobs – or at least to their old jobs. Estimates are 3.5 million Americans have dropped out the labor force, leaving employers short staffed and their customers with long waits for goods and services. Featuring Bill LaFayette, Ph.D., economist and founder of Regionomics, Lisa Patt-McDaniel, CEO of the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio and Sangeeta Lakhani, co-founder of Service!, a Central Ohio Relief Program for Hospitality Workers, this Dialogue discussion looked at the reasons for this “great resignation” and discussed efforts to erase the labor shortage. The program was moderated by Mike Thompson, WOSU News chief content director.


Dialogue Special Edition: The Russia/Ukraine Crisis
Thursday, March 10, 2022

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues and expands, what are the pathways to peace? How would these different pathways for ending the conflict impact Ukraine, Russia, the United States and Europe? Join this special Dialogue for a conversation with Lucan Ahmad Way, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, and Dr. Scott Smitson, lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), professor of geostrategy and geoeconomics, Joint Special Operations University, to learn more about the Russia-Ukraine war and how the outcome could influence the global security environment and the contest of democracy versus authoritarianism in Europe. The program will be moderated by Trevor Brown, dean of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.


Dialogue: Critical Race Theory – What Is It, and Why Is It Under Attack?
March 8, 2022

Social justice protests have caused many to rethink what they know about the history of race in America. From the role slavery played in building the American economy, to a lack of knowledge about the Tulsa race massacre, many question the lessons they learned—or didn’t learn—in school. This awareness has brought new attention to the nearly 50-year-old academic framework of Critical Race Theory which argues racism is embedded in the American legal and economic systems. Not everyone agrees, and they argue supporters of CRT are trying to divide America and re-write history.

Featuring Hasan Kwame Jeffries, associate professor of history at The Ohio State University, and Vince Ellison, author and member of Project 21 Black Leadership Network, this Dialogue discussion explores Critical Race Theory and discusses why it has come under fire. The program is moderated by Mike Thompson, WOSU News Chief Content Director.


Gas to Groceries – Why are we paying so much?
February 8, 2022

America’s rate of inflation has hit its highest level in more than 30 years. After decades of only minimal price increases, the annual inflation rate has reached seven percent. Heating costs have risen sharply over last year. Experts blame supply chain disruptions, rising wages and government stimulus checks for the sudden spikes in prices and energy costs.

Featuring Dr. Ned Hill, professor of economic development at Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and Dr. Robert Rich, senior economic and policy advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, this Dialogue discussion will try to get to the bottom of the trend, predict what lies ahead and look at what, if anything, policy makers can do about it. The program was moderated by Trevor Brown, dean of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

New Leadership for Columbus Police
November 9, 2021

It has been a difficult two years for Columbus Police and the community it serves. High-profile police shootings, criticism over officers’ actions against protesters, and a sharply rising murder rate prompted Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther to bring in outsiders to lead the city’s Division of Police and Department of Public Safety.

Both Chief Elaine Bryant and Director Robert Clark have promised to try to heal divisions between police and city residents. This Dialogue discussion will lay out their visions and what new police leadership could mean for the City of Columbus. The program was moderated by Mike Thompson, News Content Director, WOSU Public Media.

The Affordability of Living in Columbus
October 12, 2021

Columbus has been an affordable place to live – for most of us. But more and more people are finding it harder to buy or rent a home within their budgets. Home sale prices are at record highs and outpacing income gains. Apartment buildings are springing up everywhere, but many have rents too high for low-income residents to afford. And with Central Ohio’s population predicted to grow to 3 million by 2050, business and community leaders and housing advocates wonder where the extra half-million people will live. This Dialogue discussion focuses on Central Ohio’s rapidly changing housing situation and explores what it will take to ensure everyone can afford to live here.

Dialogue: Post-Pandemic Arts & Culture
September 14, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced abrupt changes upon museums, live performance groups, and other cultural organizations. Some moved operations outdoors, others relied increasingly on technology to connect with patrons, and others shuttered for a time.

When the end of the pandemic is in sight, hopefully cultural organizations will return to ‘normal’ … But what will ‘normal’ look like? How many cultural institutions will survive? How have they adapted? Our guest speakers will discuss the future of patronizing the arts post-COVID.

Trevor Brown, Professor, Dean of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs


  • Johanna Burton, Executive Director, Wexner Center for the Arts
  • Janet Chen, CEO, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra
  • Jevon Collins, Performing Arts Director, The King Arts Complex


The Climate Change Tipping Point
April 28, 2021

Globally, 2020 was the second hottest year on record as global temperatures increase at an unprecedented rate due to human activity. Here in our corner of the globe, the western US saw intense wildfires and the Atlantic saw so many hurricanes we ran out of names. As climate change progresses, what is the point where we no longer can reverse the damage? Leading climate scientists Lonnie Thompson and Ellen Mosley-Thompson from Ohio State’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center discussed the state of climate change with WOSU News Chief Content Director Mike Thompson.


Race and Police – Healing the Divide
March 9, 2021

Decades of complaints of police bias and brutality against people of color came to a head in 2020 with the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Casey Goodson and Andre Hill. Demanding change, protesters flooded the streets of downtown Columbus and many suburban city centers. Columbus city officials promised reform and voters approved independent oversight of the police. In our latest Dialogue program, we looked at where those promised reforms stand and examined efforts to heal the divide between the police and people of color. Our panelists for this program were Columbus minster Jeffery Kee, veteran Ohio police officer Angel Tucker and former police chief Kim Jacobs. WOSU News Content Director Mike Thompson moderated the conversation, with 89.7 N PR News Anchor and Host Clare Roth monitoring the Q&A. Watch the program below.


The Future of K-12 Education
February 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic forced abrupt changes for students, parents, and educators. The switch to remote learning, increased reliance on technology, and suspension of most standardized tests made the last two school years unforgettable. With the end of the pandemic hopefully in sight, educators are planning for a return to ‘normal.’ But what will the ‘normal’ classroom look like? How can we help students make up for lost time? Joining us for this program were Dr. Talisa Dixon, superintendent of Columbus Public Schools, and Paolo DeMaria, Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction. Trevor Brown, dean of Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs, moderated the conversation with WOSU Classroom Chief Content Director Amy Palermo monitoring the Q&A. Watch the program below.


Election 2020: What’s Next?
November 10, 2020

After the ballots have been cast, WOSU Public Media’s Mike Thompson and a panel of experts looked at the aftermath of the 2020 election. They discussed the results, voting process, any legal challenges and how the country will move forward. Steven Huefner, professor at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, Former State Legislator Shannon Jones, and Democratic Consultant Derrick Clay joined us for the conversation moderated by WOSU’s Mike Thompson.


Election 2020: Making Our Votes Count
October 13, 2020

The 2020 election will be like none other in recent history. American voters are as divided as they’ve been in decades and a global pandemic is forcing them to cast ballots in different ways. Political divisions and COVID-19 will stress our electoral system like never before. As Ohioans make their choices, we’ll look at what election officials and advocates are doing to make sure our votes count, and the process is secure.

Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and Ned Foley, director of Election Law at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, joined us for this conversation. Trevor Brown, dean of Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs, moderated the discussion.


Racial Inequity in the Age of COVID-19
September 8, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on systemic racial inequalities in the American health care system. The coronavirus has affected people of color at a disproportionate rate. While we’re coping with a new virus, it’s not a new problem. African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans have long suffered worse health effects than White Americans.

Stephanie Hightower, president and CEO of the Columbus Urban League, and Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts joined us to discuss the reasons behind this systemic inequity and explore ways to close the gap. Ann Fisher, host of All Sides with Ann Fisher on 89.7 NPR News moderated the discussion.

Dialogue: Is Medicare for All the Answer?
February 11, 2020

Polls show that health care is among the most important issues for voters in the 2020 election. Spending on medical care has skyrocketed in the past 20 years and is weighing on both workers and employers. What is the answer? Can sweeping legislative proposals like universal Medicare or some other single-payer health plan address rising costs? Would this fundamental restructuring of the health care system be prohibitively expensive?

We discuss the concerns, options and challenges to America’s health care with Dr. Ean Bett, physician and single-payer health care advocate, and Greg Moody, Executive-in-Residence, John Glenn College of Public Affairs. The discussion was moderated by Karen Kasler, Statehouse Bureau Chief for Ohio Public Radio and TV.

No Shot, No School. Should Government Mandate Vaccines?
November 12, 2019

Polls show that health care is among the most important issues for voters in the 2020 election. Spending on medical care has skyrocketed in the past 20 years and is weighing on both workers and employers. What is the answer? Can sweeping legislative proposals like universal Medicare or some other single-payer health plan address rising costs? Would this fundamental restructuring of the health care system be prohibitively expensive?

We discuss the concerns, options and challenges to America’s health care with Dr. Ean Bett, physician and single-payer health care advocate, and Greg Moody, Executive-in-Residence, John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Ann Fisher, host of All Sides with Ann Fisher on 89.7 NPR News moderates the discussion.

Dialogue: Capitalism vs. Socialism
October 8, 2019

Socialism used to be a dirty word in American politics, but many of the candidates running for president are openly suggesting some socialist policies might be a good thing for America.

We discussed the pros and cons of capitalism and socialism with Rea Hederman, executive director of the Economic Research Center for The Buckeye Institute and Bob Fitrakis, professor of Political Science at Columbus State Community College and co-founder of the Democratic Socialists of America. The event was moderated by Mike Thompson, chief content director of News and Public Affairs for WOSU Public Media.

Disinformation in the Digital Age
September 10, 2019

Disinformation – the purposeful spread of false or misleading information — is an ancient phenomenon but has exploded in recent years thanks to modern technologies including social media. Reality increasingly is being distorted by fake videos, fake people and cries of “fake news.” And it’s getting easier to generate fakes and to spread them instantly and virally.

What are the consequences of the rising tide of disinformation? Can anything be done to fight fakes without endangering our fundamental values including freedom of speech? What will happen if we fail to rein in disinformation?

We will discuss this timely issue with Jeffrey Trimble, a lecturer in the School of Communication and Department of Political Science at Ohio State. Before coming to Ohio State in 2018, Trimble, an international journalist and media manager for more than 35 years, helped to create programs by U.S. government-funded international broadcasting to counter global disinformation from Russia and other countries and non-state actors.

The discussion will be moderated by Nicole Kraft, an award-winning reporter, editor and magazine journalist who is an assistant professor (clinical) of public affairs journalism in Ohio State’s School of Communication. Her areas of expertise include news, sports and feature writing, social media, sports communication, media law and ethics, and academic use of mobile technology.

Dialogue: Basic Income for All – And Other Ways to Close the Income Gap
April 30, 2019

Lightly regulated capitalism leads to boom-bust cycles that threaten the livelihood of the middle class and poor in times of crisis.

Could raising income taxes for the wealthy fund new programs and help reduce income inequality? Could universal basic income combat poverty? Is guaranteed income – a guarantee that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions – a solution?

We will with Lynn Parramore, senior research analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and Dr. Darrick Hamilton, executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity discuss these and other policy ideas. Moderated by Dr. Trevor Brown, dean of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

Dialogue: Sports and Society
March 21, 2019

Dr. Pete Edwards, co-owner of the Columbus Crew SC, and Gene Smith, director of athletics at The Ohio State University join Ann Fisher, host of All Sides with Ann Fisher on 89.7 NPR News for a discussion of the prominent role sports play in American society.

From billions spent on college athletics and taxpayers footing the bill for arenas and stadiums, to the sports concussion crisis and the ever-expanding issue of sports gambling, we will examine why sports are so important to our culture.

The Future of America in Space
February 12, 2019

Fifty-seven years after John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth, the United States finds itself in a world in which many nations, as well as private companies, have established independent space capabilities.

From plans for a U.S. Space Force to human flight to Mars, we discussed the critical issues facing U.S. space policy with former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. and John M. Horack, the Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy at The Ohio State University.

Re-evaluation of American Society
January 16, 2019

Since the 1970s, workers without college degrees have seen their full-time employment fall, real wages decline and family income stagnate.

The 2016 presidential election served notice that the working class, especially working-class men, felt overlooked, alienated, angry and were desperate for new leadership.

J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, and Oren Cass, author of The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America, discuss American society, economics and public policy.

Dialogue: 2018 Midterm Election Analysis
November 13, 2018

Mike Thompson, WOSU Public Media’s Chief Content Director for News and Public Affairs and host of WOSU TV’s Columbus on the Record, was joined by Paul Beck, OSU Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Whitney Smith, political consultant & founder, W.T. Smith Consulting, to discuss the results of the 2018 Midterm Elections and what it means for 2019 and beyond.

The Future of Work
October 2, 2018

Marketplace Morning Report host senior editor David Brancaccio led a discussion on the increased use of automation, artificial intelligence and global competition is changing the way people work.

Guest Panelists for this discussion included Lisa Patt-McDaniel, president and CEO of Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio and Scot McLemore, Talent Acquisition and Deployment | HR and Admin Division of Honda North America, Inc.

Will the Forever War Ever End?
September 11, 2018

Ann Fisher, host of All Sides with Ann Fisher on 89.7 NPR News, and Dr. Peter Mansoor, Ohio State Univeristy Chair of Military History and military analyst for CNN, discussed if the “Forever War” will ever end with U.S. military engagement in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and extended conflicts in the Middle East. And what this continuing commitment of troops overseas means for national security at home and abroad.

A Look at Women in Ohio Politics
May 24, 2018, 6 p.m.

NPR political correspondent Asma Khalid explored the challenges and opportunities for female candidates with state senator Charleta Tavares (D- Columbus, Columbus Recreation and Parks’ Sophia Fifner and Wendy Smooth, associate professor of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences.

The New Age of Entrepreneurship
March 6, 2018

Sam Sanders, host of NPR’s It’s Been a Minute, moderated a discussion about the New Age of Entrepreneurship with Tanisha Robinson, CEO, BrewDog USA and Merry Korn, President/CEO, Pearl Interactive Network.