Janice S. Ellis, PhD
Shaping Public Opinion: How Real Advocacy Journalism(TM) Should Be Practiced
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What is your book about?
There is a growing, if not urgent, need to understand the difference between the advocacy journalism being practiced today and Real Advocacy Journalism™. More importantly, we all need to readily recognize when one or the other is at play in trying to influence public opinion, or urge a hopeful, trusting public to action. The author revisits the works of Walter Lippmann, one of the foremost advocate journalists of the last 100 years for a roadmap on how to know the difference. Complex local, regional, national, and global issues are often covered and treated with a biased and simplistic approach. This happens all too frequently when the public is asked to form an opinion or support an action about issues such as: should we go to war or support a war; what is the appropriate health care policy for the majority of citizens; how can gun violence be curbed; what are the distinctions between terrorism, foreign or homegrown; is climate change a real threat to civilization or a man-made hoax; and, on and on…. Shaping Public Opinion will have special resonance with journalists, political columnists/commentators, pundits, political leaders, other influencers of public opinion, the professors who teach and the students who study them as well as citizens who are concerned about the trajectory and course of our national and international political dialogue.
What inspired you to write your book?
The power and use of words still matter in contemporary society, perhaps more so than ever. Words have mattered since the dawn of civilization. But too often in today’s public discourse, especially when it comes to politics and governing, the power and use of words seem to be ignored and disregarded. This is evident with the myriad of political commentators in print, radio, television, and online media attempting to analyze public policy, political persons, and events—rationally or irrationally. What better time than now to revisit how one of the most renowned political journalists and newspaper columnists of the twentieth century perceived and practiced, what I describe in this book as Real Advocacy Journalism™. Walter Lippmann in his role as a political columnist, an advocate journalist, provides the theoretical principles and practical application of Real Advocacy Journalism™, which is so needed today in shaping public opinion and public policy.
If you have a business related to your book, tell us about it:
https://realadvocacyjournalism.com where educational resources and services are offered. I conduct webinars and I am available for speaking engagements and participation in workshops and book club discussions.
What is a typical day like for you?
I start each day with Bible study and reading inspirational materials, as I enjoy a cup of coffee. Yogurt is a staple for breakfast. I then get on my computer to either write and post a commentary, work on a chapter in my next book, and marketing my published books. I love working in my vegetable and flower gardens, going for walks, which helps to clarify and inspire thoughts.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Helping to clarify issues and offering information to improve understanding and possible solutions and approaches. Enlightenment.
What are some favorite books you’d recommend to our readers?
Bible; Plato’s Republic; John Adams; The Harbinger; The Bourne Identity; The Spy Who Came In Out of the Cold; Losing America.
What advice do you have to offer our readers?
We all tend to gravitate toward a particular type of book(s). It is good to venture into other genres to broaden one’s horizons and understanding of so many subject areas.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I was born and raised on a small cotton farm in Mississippi with six siblings. My love of books and being a voracious reader enabled me to escape the poverty and oppression that defined my childhood and teen years. Those experiences so enriched my life, influenced my education and career achievements and influenced me in becoming a writer. I am an introvert and do not seek the limelight.
What’s next for you?
I am working on a 3-book series, the working title is Advancing the Good Society: Real Advocacy Journalism(TM) in Action. Book I: Ethics and Values; Book II: Justice and Equality; Book III: Patriotism and Politics.