Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR's On the Media and a media analyst, was on Colbert this week. She has a new book out, The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media - and uses the form of a comic book or graphic non-fiction book which is very cool.
Gladstone had a couple of interesting things to say about our perception of the media. First, in general, we perceive it to have a significant and undue influence on us. Gladstone rejects this, saying that media is more a mirror of opinions that are already held by people, rather than an influencing force. And second, she chose the form of a graphic novel because she felt that it was an intimate medium, like radio, that the individual pictures that illustrate key historical moments and ideas would cause people to remember them.
I'm a fan of using the graphic form for non-fiction because I do think it slows you down when you read - giving you time to absorb ideas in a multiple media format, complex enough to be interesting and appeal to different types of learners, but not so complex as to be distracting.
Gladstone has published two comprehensive excerpts from her book over at Slate. The first, from the chapter on "Objectivity" and the second an explanation of "The Goldilocks Number". Below is one of the panels from Objectivity.
Following is a trailer of Gladstone's book, The Influencing Machine.