Solving for Emotion and the News Media with Dr. Alison Dagnes, Author of Super Mad at Everything All the Time

Is the news making you angry? You’re not alone. We speak with Dr. Alison Dagnes, professor of Political Science at Shippensburg University, about specific tactics we can all use to manage our emotional response to media consumption. In her book Super Mad at Everything All the Time she presents specific tactics to navigate our relationship with the media.

According to Dr. Dagnes, "We are increasingly being encouraged by different media outlets (as comedian John Mulaney puts it) to be ‘super mad at everything all the time.’"

Some of her tips on how to handle mass media:

1. Unplug as much as possible
It's unbelievably easy to be inundated with information. News organizations treat each and every report as important. As Dagnes puts it, "It's not our job to monitor every single thing that goes on. It's important for us to be informed, but we are not the ones who are going to go to DC and take care of business. It's ok if we take off some of the alerts from our phone.”

2. More information, less entertainment
Try to follow journalists who straightforwardly inform. Focus on those journalists who are non-partisan or who focus on real reporting rather than sensationalism. Look at your media diet like a food diet—keep the bulk of media that is good for your mind and soul. Some media may, of course, be entertainment.

3. Get an outside perspective
Expose yourself to alternate viewpoints. One way to do this is to follow international news sources, not only for world news, but also for a fresh and non-ideological perspective of what's happening in the United States. If your social media feed or real-life connections always agree with you on everything, you perhaps need to expand your circle. Break outside of those algorithmic echo chambers.

4. Pick a cause
An active approach can be empowering and validating. Pick one thing to be really passionate about. If you pick too many things, you’ll get exhausted and burn out far too fast.

Our media consumption doesn’t need to cause our blood to bubble. With Dr. Dagnes’ advice on hand, we can take a more intentional, balanced approach to current events and the way we absorb that information.

More Info on Dr. Dagnes
Super Mad at Everything All the Time

Interviewed by:
Scott Mitchem


Scott Mitchem
Brand-Builder, Creative Strategist, Design & Development Professional
More about Scott Mitchem
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