THE problem to solve:

“3 minutes of negative news = 27% more likely unhappy day 6-8hrs later.”


It turns out it’s (ironically) really hard to search for news about “negative news” — try it.

I saw the blurb about a “Study: Negative news can ruin your day” in a Captivate elevator news display, and had to go back and take a photo of it to remember the exact phrasing.

Searching for “negative news can ruin your day” I found *one* result in Google:


Which linked to the HBR article cited above.

From the results of the study it is not hard to deduce that popular/mainstream media’s focus on negative news is actively harming anyone that consumes it, including their optimism, and what they can do to make things better.

The reason this is THE problem to solve is that it may be the biggest meta-problem to solve. That is, this problem is actively harming humanity’s collective problem solving capacity.  Even incrementally solving this would increase our collective problem solving capacity, which would presumably cause us to solve more and harder problems faster.

To solve this, we need to fix the media, provide positive alternatives, and figure out how to encourage publishing and consuming of positive alternatives.

“I get things are bad. But what are we doing to fix it?”
— Casey Newton, Tomorrowland (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Tomorrowland_%28film%29)

(Another previous study, on negative TV news broadcasts: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-we-worry/201206/the-psychological-effects-tv-news)

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