All about No Star to Guide Me

I’ve been researching media advice giving and public health campaigns for the past 24 years, and working as an agony aunt since 2002. Over that time people have always been fascinated to find out what the job’s like, whether we make the problems up, and what kinds of dilemmas do people ask us about.

I am often asked to explain how advice giving works, to talk about it from an academic or historical perspective (for students, researchers and journalists), or practical ‘how to’ guidance for those who’re wanting to offer media advice or public health campaigns. And to show how the many different ways of offering advice can be adapted into teaching, outreach work, health, development, social care – or just being there for a friend in crisis.

In 2014 I started interviewing established agony aunts. People who’ve been doing the job for 20 years or more (in some cases 40+ years). This has given me a fascinating insight into changes in media and public problems, and practical ideas about how to give good advice. On hearing I was doing these interviews the main feedback I had from friends, family and colleagues was ‘I’d love to hear those stories, can you share them?’.

So I decided to create a site where I could bring together as much information as I could find about advice giving. Where I could talk about historical and recent examples of advice giving across diverse media platforms and document the work of advice givers past and present. Alongside the practicalities of media advice giving for those in media, healthcare, NGOs or charities keen to improve how they offer information to the public. While blogging about the ‘real life’ issues faced by an agony aunt.

The aims of this site are to:
1. Explain how media advice giving works, and to promote good practice for advice columns and programmes.
2. Offer ideas, tools, training information and evaluation techniques for those offering advice columns and programmes world wide.
3.Archive research papers, books and resources on advice giving for others to use in their own practice, teaching, studies, outreach etc.
4. Collate stories from agony aunts and uncles, and map media advice giving internationally.

I hope you find this site interesting and entertaining. It’s a growing project and if there’s something missing you think should be here then please let me know.