In a fast-paced world with clickbait ‘news’, ‘fake news’, the current U.S. president blaming ‘the media’ of not supporting his ‘alternative truths’, it’s up to us to reconsider our media consumption. The subject of Jodie Jackson’s You Are What You Read: Why changing your media diet can change the world is not information overload, rather than seeking a new balance of negative news with solution journalism. She doesn’t call for blind optimism, knows very well that an artificial Good News Week doesn’t work out well for a newspaper or network. She’s not blind to the importance of sharing negative news, but pleas for more optimism, hope, and solutions peaking through the way journalists find, filter, edit, and present news.
In her book, positive psychologist Jackson points out six effective ways we can change our media diet in a way that will help us become more informed, engaged and empowered, with positive effects on our mental health as well:
- Become a conscious consumer
- Read/watch good-quality journalism
- Burst your filter bubble
- Be prepared to pay for content
- Read beyond the news
- Read solutions-focused news.
She shows many examples of how news misled people, false facts were presented, and news channels became entertainment shows with influencing anchormen and women. Jackson draws on well-known psychological research on anchoring, biases, and fact-checkers. We choose what news we will consume. Let’s be careful because like what food is for the body, information is to the minds and souls. The book is provoking, yet accessible. Jackson provides an online starter’s kit with news resources to broaden your horizon.
About the Author
Jodie Jackson is an author, researcher, and campaigner, and a partner at The Constructive Journalism Project. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of East London where she investigated the psychological impact of the news, and she is a regular speaker at media conferences and universities. She lives in London.