News Over Noise Podcast Episodes

If you find yourself avoiding the news, you're not alone. But what's turning you off is likely not the news itself—it's the noise surrounding it. News Over Noise explores the challenge of separating spin and click-bait from good journalism and why it matters. This podcast empowers our citizenry by giving listeners the tools they need to balance staying informed while protecting their well-being and the public good.

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How do you respond when someone disagrees with you? If you’re like many Americans, you probably end the conversation and write them off. And who can blame you when debates are frequently framed as moralistic disputes between the righteous and the enemy? But what's the cost of walking away instead of making an effort to engage? On the next News Over Noise, we’ll find out by talking with Anand Giridharadas, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Persuaders. 

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Anand Giridharadas is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Persuaders, the international bestseller Winners Take All, The True American, and India Calling. A former foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times for more than a decade, he has also written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Time, and is the publisher of the newsletter The.Ink. He is an on-air political analyst for MSNBC. He has received the Radcliffe Fellowship, the Porchlight Business Book of the Year Award, Harvard University’s Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Humanism in Culture, and the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Terms like trolls and butterfly attacks sound like something out of a childhood fable. Unfortunately, in the digital information landscape, these terms represent very real tactics that can have devastating effects on democracy. What are these bad-actors are trying to accomplish? And, how can you protect yourself from becoming prey to their malicious schemes? To find out, we’ll talk with Dr. Joan Donovan, one of the leading experts on media manipulation, and disinformation campaigns, and online extremism.

Guest Dr. Joan Donovan is a leading public scholar and disinformation researcher, specializing in media manipulation, political movements, critical internet studies, and online extremism. She is the Research Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and the Director of the Technology and Social Change project (TaSC). Through TaSC, Dr. Donovan explores how media manipulation is a means to control public conversation, derail democracy, and disrupt society. Dr. Donovan is co-author of the book Meme Wars, The Untold Story of the Online Battles Upending Democracy in America. She is a columnist at MIT Technology Review, a regular contributor to the New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and PBS, and is quoted often on radio and in print.

Social media often gets a bad rap, but it plays an undeniably critical role in today’s media landscape. With younger people increasingly opting to get their information from platforms like TikTok instead of traditional news sources, its significance is only likely to increase. On this episode of News Over Noise, we talk with journalist, activist, and social media strategist Annie Wu about the power of social media to drive the agenda when it comes to news, politics, and public opinion.

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Annie Wu is a journalist, activist, social media expert, and politics + pop culture junkie. She is currently the news editor of Feminist. She just completed her work as the Social Media Producer for John Fetterman’s successful campaign for U.S. Senate and previously worked for a non-profit, Gen-Z For Change and PA Stands Up. Annie has recently been featured in a number of publications including NBCNews and As a proud adopted Asian-American, her work focuses on equality, mental health, intersectionality and education.

Most Americans get their information fed to them through their smartphones. Constant bombardment and easy access to headlines, video clips, and sound bites help create the illusion that we are well-informed about the goings-on of our world. But...are we? On the next News Over Noise, we’ll explore what the News Finds Me mentality is, how it impacts civic engagement, and why it might be leaving us less informed than we realize.

Guest Homero Gil de Zúñiga, Ph.D. serves as Distinguished Research Professor at University of Salamanca, as Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and as Senior Research Fellow at Universidad Diego Portales. His work aims to shed an empirical social scientific light over how social media, algorithms, AI, and other technologies affect society. Relying on survey, experimental, and computational methods his work seeks to clarify the way we understand some of today’s most pressing challenges for democracies.

Gil de Zúñiga is recipient of the Pennsylvania State University Medal for Outstanding achievement in Social and Behavioral Sciences, Fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA), Fellow of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), recipient of the Krieghbaum Under-40 Award at the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC), has been identified as one of the most prolific scholars in Political Communication and Social Media 2008/2018 (Sierra & Rodríguez-Virgili, 2020), one of the most bridging and central node Communication scholars in Latin America (Segado-Boj et al., 2021), and recognized as Thomson Reuters Clarivate Journal of Citation Reports (JCR) Highly Cited Scholar.

Whether your eyelids get heavy at the mere mention of an economic story or you're a seasoned economic news consumer and want to know how you can find reliable, quality reporting, this is a discussion for you. We’re going to talk with Bob Frick, Navy Federal’s Corporate Economist, about what makes for quality—and not so quality—economic reporting and how you can tell the difference. We’ll also discuss how you cut through the buzzwords and vague characterizations to get to the bottom of what’s actually going on.

Guest Robert Frick is Navy Federal’s Corporate Economist. In that role, he advises Navy Federal leaders on economic conditions and trends, especially those that affect Navy Federal’s 12 million members. He is frequently quoted in the press on issues including GDP, the labor market, consumer spending, and housing. Robert also has an expertise in behavioral economics and worked professionally in that area before joining Navy Federal in 2017. He was also a business and financial journalist for 30 years, having worked 15 years in daily newspaper and 15 years for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. He holds a BA in Journalism and an MBA from the Pennsylvania State University and has served on the Penn State College of Communications alumni advisory board as well as the Mount Nittany Conservancy Board.

Consuming quality local journalism has a profound impact on civic engagement. People vote more, get more engaged in their community, and trust each other more. So, what happens when local news outlets start disappearing? On this episode of News Over Noise, we’ll talk with Tim Lambert, the Multimedia News Director at WITF, about the state of local news and the implications this has for all of us. We’ll also offer some tips on how to evaluate the credibility of the news you consume.

Guest Tim Lambert is the Multimedia News Director at WITF. He is a six-time recipient of the Radio Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) National Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in digital and broadcast journalism and serves as one of four national coaches for the Trusting News project. Tim’s reporting has also been honored on the state, regional and national levels.

The U.S. has one of the highest-news avoidance rates in the world, with more than 42 percent of Americans saying they actively avoid the news. On this episode of News Over Noise, we’ll delve into news avoidance, what it is, and why it matters. We’ll also offer some strategies for how to overcome your own reluctance to engage with journalism.

Guest Kirsten Eddy is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, a senior researcher with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and a research affiliate with UNC’s Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life