Faculty member to be featured on C-SPAN program

A Shippensburg University political science department faculty member will be featured on C-SPAN’s Book TV reading from her new book at an upcoming Barnes and Noble event.Dagnes

Dr. Alison Dagnes, associate professor of political science, is author of Politics on Demand: The Effects of 24 Hour News on American Politics. She will have a book reading at Barnes and Noble in Camp Hill at 7 p.m. Sept. 23. C-SPAN will tape the reading for its popular Book TV programming. That program highlights top non-fiction authors and books each weekend beginning Saturdays at 8 a.m. and concluding Mondays at 8 a.m.

Dagnes is in her eighth year at Shippensburg where she teaches courses on such topics as politics and the media, American political thought, political parties and elections, and the legislative process. She has a wide range of research interests that have focused most recently on the media and politics.

She earned her degree in government from Saint Lawrence University in 1991 and then joined C-SPAN for five years as a producer. “Because of all those really great people, I figured out I was more interested in American politics than I was in TV,” Dagnes said. That experience led her to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she earned her Ph.D. in political science in 2003.

Brian Lamb, chairman and founder of the network, spoke at Shippensburg in 2007 and Dagnes interviewed him for her book. Book TV’s producer subsequently thought the book was good fit for the program.

Politics on Demand examines the effects of the 24-hour news system and illustrates how politicians and others in politics use media to their own advantage. Dagnes notes in the book that the media must adapt to new technologies and financial imperatives. This adaptation, she said, has forced the media to become entertainment driven resulting in a subsequent impact on the political system.

Dagnes noted one recent example of this interconnectivity. When a video of a federal official’s speech was taken out of context and uploaded to YouTube, the backlash was immediate. “What really hit me about that was how fast the White House reacted, and it was to a false piece of information. Now, that to me is technology changing the entire landscape,” she said.

Her experience at C-SPAN made her conscious of ever-changing communication systems, which was, in part, the inspiration for her research. Dagnes said conversation has evolved from being something of substance to something of opinion, or extra information she calls “fluff.” According to Dagnes, “Fluff is something that is a lot of fun, but not very nutritious, and not something that helps me be a better citizen. Although the media provides us with useful and important information, it’s just easier to pay attention to the fluff.”

More information on the event is available at the Barnes and Noble website.