Hillbilly Elegy, now streaming online, is the autobiography of J.D. Vance who reflects on his family history and his own future. A few years prior to its release, Hollywood on the Potomac attended a CPB event in his honor. Below is the article that resulted from that interaction.
“Our goal is to serve the American people in ways that lead to a positive and achievable outcome – a strong civil society, healthy communities, civil discourse, freedom of the press and a commitment to lifelong learning beginning with our youngest citizens. The power of public media is that it is owned by the American people … all of them,” CEO of Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) Pat Harrison told an enthusiastic audience at a dinner honoring best-selling author J.D. Vance at The Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Washington. “We tell and listen to the stories of their lives and in sharing these diverse stories, we hope to build at least a thread of mutual respect and understanding – key elements of a strong civil society. So whether you call it content that counts or content that matters, it is what defines public from all other media, provided free of charge and commercial free.”
“Today our mission is more vital than ever. Although technology has the ability to connect us across oceans and borders, we seem to be more disconnected from one another, with the gap between race and education, economic class, agenda and geography getting wider,” Harrison added. “So how does public media, America’s storyteller address that gap? What stories are we choosing to tell? And as that story keeps changing, shaped by new voices, raising new challenges and societal problems, how do we respond? Our keynote speaker, J.D. Vance, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, will talk to us about our country today, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, upper class and working class, and how we might just be able to tip the scales in favor of those young people with little hope, living on the margins, if we work together.”
Vance’s book is currently in production with Ron Howard‘s company Image Entertainment that he shares with Brian Grazer.