January 8, 2016

Alanis Morissette, “a born agony aunt,” will be The Guardian Weekend’s advice columnist Mark Sweney reported Friday for The Guardian. (An agony aunt, by the way, is “a ​person, usually a woman, who gives ​advice to ​people with ​personal ​problems, ​especially in a ​regular ​magazine or ​newspaper ​article,” according to Cambridge Dictionaries Online.)

Morissette, who takes over the column from Molly Ringwald, channelled her own issues into music, which made her a global superstar at the age of 21.

“I’m definitely a therapy girl. I think that’s quite obvious,” she said. “I don’t want to say everyone should [have therapy], but do I think everyone might benefit from it? Yes. But I’m aware that a lot of people have great resistance to it.”

Ringwald wrote her final column in September. She found the word count limiting.

Well, for the past year, as your dilemmas have poured in, I’ve answered as honestly and as helpfully as I could – though at times I’ve felt stymied by the limited word count. Some of your problems were far too complicated to be summed up, let alone solved, in 450 words. On the other hand (a phrase I have used often, since part of what I try to offer is the other point of view), even in the longest, most complex and agonising situation, the essential piece of advice I always returned to was: listen and talk more.

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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