The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone On The Media Book Cover The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone On The Media
Brooke Gladstone & Josh Neufeld
Non-Fiction
WW Norton
2012
Paperback
192

From the Publisher: 

A million listeners trust NPR's Brooke Gladstone to guide them through the complexities of the modern media. Bursting onto the page in vivid comics by acclaimed artist Josh Neufeld, this brilliant radio personality guides us through two millennia of media history, debunking the notion that "The Media" is an external force beyond our control and equipping us to be savvy consumers and shapers of the news.

I was recently given a copy of The Influencing Machine for speaking at a NATO Multi-National Information Operations Experiment workshop and, boy, did I consume this one quickly. This book, written by Brooke Gladstone and illustrated by Josh Neufeld, is a visual and mental delight and should be mandatory reading for everyone. Full stop.

The Influencing Machine is a short, easy-to-read introduction to not just media, but  the information environment. The book deftly provides a history of information sharing through technological advances, while tackling some of the prevailing narratives about journalism. Digging deeper, though, Gladstone delves  into some of the individual cognitive challenges we face in consuming news and how these ultimately help shape and distort our perspectives. Far from the usual simplified argument blaming journalism or online platforms for our current information problems, Gladstone argues, we are all part of the “influencing machine” and our choices in consumption of information deliver us the media we deserve.

If this book isn’t in the curriculum for teaching students about media and the information environment it absolutely should be. This is by far one of the best introductions on the topic I have read.

The Influence Machine is available on Amazon.


Cover Image: Propaganda poster “Victory Waits On Your Fingers – Keep ‘Em Flying Miss U.S.A.” From Office for Emergency Management, Office of War Information, Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. (03/09/1943 – 09/15/1945)

About Author

Alicia Wanless

La Generalista is the online identity of Alicia Wanless – a researcher and practitioner of strategic communications for social change in a Digital Age. Alicia researches how we shape — and are shaped — by a changing information space. As the Director of Strategic Communications at The SecDev Foundation, Alicia develops campaigns and strategies for engaging beneficiaries in outreach and behavioural change. Her work includes developing a training program that deals with verifying information and the spread of content online, and has supported projects in the Middle East, Vietnam and the post-Soviet space.

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