Jodie Jackson

Author. Campaigner. Optimist

Jodie Jackson is on a mission to change the media; her recent book “You Are What You Read” is an invitation to become a part of this movement.

Jodie Jackson is a news consumer-turned-author, who has spent the last decade researching the psychological impact of the news. Through her work, she has shown that the excessive negativity in the news creates a distorted and harmful picture of the world. Jodie believes that we need a better balance in the news and shows why we must widen the media lens to include stories of solutions, progress and development in order to improve our psychological & sociological wellbeing, the news industry and, ultimately, the world.

Jodie holds a Master’s in Positive Psychology and is a partner at The Constructive Journalism Project. Her widely cited research has led to speaking engagements at universities, organisations and media conferences around the world.

Jodie’s journey to author of You Are What You Read began in 2011, when she decided she could not bear to hear another depressing news story.

“I would switch radio stations as soon as I heard the beeps introducing the news bulletin. They sounded to me like alarm bells, warning me that something awful was coming.”

Some saw this decision not to listen to the news and see the world in all of its ugly existence as naïve, weak or extreme.

“This reaction that others had towards me made me feel that I must be damaged in some way, that there was something in me that was not strong enough or brave enough to see the world in all of its ugly existence”.

But Jodie did not – and still doesn’t – see the world as simply ugly.

“My experience of the world is that it is a remarkable and complex place, filled with adventure, imagination and kindness as well as cruelty, suffering, and injustice. I could understand that the world had its flaws but I did not and could not agree with the picture that I was being given by reading the news. I came to realise it was not me but the news industry that was damaged”.

It was at this point, that Jodie asked “How could I remain informed on what’s going on in the world without being totally overwhelmed and depressed by it?”

It was this question that led to Jodie’s increasing involvement in the Constructive Journalism movement.

Over the past ten years Jodie has contributed to that movement in various ways, including: running a website collating solutions-focused journalism; organising events and crowdfunding campaigns; writing for established and emerging platforms; speaking on panels with leading thinkers, academics and journalists; conducting her own widely-referenced research into the effects of the news bias on consumers; and now writing You Are What You Read.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

You Are What You Read” succinctly and effectively makes a convincing argument for the value of solutions-focused reporting. It takes a nuanced approach, which acknowledges there is a place for negative news. The way it discusses how to project optimism is fascinating and is something we need more of in our media.

Joseph Litcherman, editorial manager and writer of “Solutions Set” at “The Lenfest Institute“

An incredible, thought-provoking and important book that will give you the tools to navigate the rampant negativity on the news. Jodie Jackson provides insights and tools to help you stay informed without getting depressed. A must-read!

Michelle Gielan, Bestselling Author of Broadcasting Happiness

‘You Are What You Read’ is an incredibly unique and thought provoking book which explains the impact that the news has on our mental health and gives an insight on how we can inform ourselves, whilst avoiding the negative impacts of our current news environment. In a world of tragedy, misinformation, media manipulation and the relentless demonisation of societies, understanding the benefits of solutions journalism helps us all to change narratives and regain faith in credible journalism!

Hacked Off

News consumers will feel energized and empowered by especially the last chapter of “You Are What You Read.” This chapter details what everyday readers can do to better inform themselves while nurturing a more productive news environment.

Steven Youngblood, Director, Center for Global Peace Journalism; author “Peace Journalism Principles and Practices”

The news is bad for you. It’s time to radically change the production and the consumption of media. Jodie Jackson’s brilliant book shows how

Rolf Dobelli, Bestselling author of “The Art of Thinking Clearly”

Jodie Jackson makes a compelling case for why we need to question our news diet, and how it distorts the way we see the world. Let’s hope her book inspires more solutions-based news and positive thinking!

Lily Cole, Co-founder of Impossible

An inspiring call to arms to overcome the negativity bias in our news media. Refreshing, well-researched, balanced and hopeful. Let’s make it happen

Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness

Using well-researched examples, this book powerfully demonstrates the importance of solutions journalism as a way to create better balance, make us better-informed and both empower and inspire us to solve the problems facing our world.

Michael Moller, Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

Well written, thoroughly researched and elegantly presented: This is a truly important book that gives, for the first time, a voice to the frustrated news consumer. Jodie Jackson shows that the real power in changing democracy depends not only on attention seeking politicians, publishers and cynical journalists chasing clicks and shares. It rests with the news consumer. This book shows that the kind of journalism we reward with our time, money and attention will determine the future of journalism, media, and democracy.

Ulrik Haargerup, Founder and CEO of Constructive Institute.

The idea that the media’s window on the world does not distort or does not matter is absurd. That it is so negative is clearly dangerous. It promotes overreaction, conflict, violence. Here is a crisp, refreshing analysis, full of warnings and full of solutions.

Simon Jenkins – Journalist, Author and former editor of The Times

The evidence shows that people are not just depressed by the gusher of crises and outrages that make up today’s news. They’re misinformed, and hold demonstrably false beliefs about the state of the world. Jodie Jackson’s timely and engaging look at contemporary journalism is a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary journalism and its role in fostering accurate knowledge and responsible citizenship.

Steven Pinker, Harvard University, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now

This book should be required reading for anyone who consumes or produces news. Jackson details the many harmful, often unexamined, ‘side effects’ of our current news environment – and suggests avenues to protect ourselves and to improve journalism. An urgent call for reform.

David Bornstein, CEO & Co-founder of Solutions Journalism Network

As media organisations globally are starting to embrace constructive journalism, Jodie fulfills a crucial role by engaging and empowering not just those who make the news, but all of us. If ‘You Are What You Read’ is about consuming stories that are good for you, then this very book is a great place to start.

Danielle Batist, Journalist and Co-Founder, The Constructive Journalism Project

Why do we think that the world is falling apart in the era of the greatest progress mankind has seen? Because our worldview is formed by the news, and as Jodie Jackson explains in this important book, the media is biased towards the negative and sensational. But don’t despair, you can change your media diet, and Jodie Jackson knows how to do it. Good news, at last!

Johan Norberg, Author, Progress: 10 Reasons to Look Forward to the Future