HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership


There is clear evidence that the prevalence of negative media reporting has increased substantially over the past years. There is evidence that this negative reporting adversely affects social interactions, and thereby also health and well-being outcomes. Given the wide reach of negative media reporting and the contagion of such reporting and the resulting interactions, the effects on health are arguably substantial. Moreover, there is little incentive at present for media outlets to change practices. A commitment of news outlets to report one positive story for every 3 negative stories, and of news consumers to restrict attention to outlets that do, could dramatically alter practices and, consequently, population health.


VanderWeele, Tyler J., and Arthur Brooks. "A Public Health Approach to Negative News Media: The 3-to-1 Solution." American Journal of Health Promotion 37.4 (May 2023): 447-449.