National Academies Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Social Norms

In October 2014 Vicky Rideout was appointed to a standing committee of the National Research Council, part of the National Academies.  The purpose of the Committee is to assist the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement strategies to improve public attitudes and beliefs about mental health and substance abuse disorders.   In the wake of the tragic death of comedian Robin Williams, it is our honor to serve on this Committee and help inform the government's efforts on this critical topic.  Changing social norms is a challenging business; the Committee's task is to explore the scientific research that can help inform our efforts. 


As of 2013, Vicky Rideout was named editor of Reviews and Commentary for the Journal of Children and Media. Here are a few great pieces from the Journal you can access for free online:

A commentary by New America’s Lisa Guernsey about translating research to the public, with a case study about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations on “Facebook Depression.”

A review of danah boyd’s It’s Complicated and Howard Gardner and Katie Davis’s The App Generation, by June Ahn.

An article about the effects of background TV on child-directed speech by parents, by Tiffany Pempek, Heather Kirkorian, and Dan Anderson.   


October 2014:  Presentation about trends in digital media use among young children, and the ongoing importance of the digital divide, at the Digital Kids Summit. Watch a video of the presentation here 


July 2014:  Panel presentation at the Casual Connect conference in San Francsico.  Read the article "Vicky Rideout Believes in the Power of Media," or watch the panel video here.

June 2014:  Luncheon speaker at the Association of American Publishers conference Content in Context.  


March 2013:  Participated in a panel discussion with Participant Media, The Ad Council, and others at SXSW Interactive in Austin. Topic: Content integration for social causes. Listen to Podcast >

July 2012:  Spoke at The Aspen Institute Children’s Forum, on a panel about video games and health.

May 2012:  Served on The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, in collaboration with HBO’s series The Weight of the NationRead the Committee’s reportwatch the HBO specials, or read the New England Journal of Medicine’s commentary on our Committee’s recommendations.

September, 2012:  Panelist at the Department of Health and Human Services Symposium Technology and Human Services.

A study for Northwestern University about teens' use of digital health information and tools, including medical websites, social media, health-related apps, and wearable devices.  (Spring, 2015)


A study for Common Sense Media on media use among 8- to 18-year-olds. (Fall, 2015)


A study for the Gates Foundation with Kevin Clark (George Mason University) and Kimberly Scott (Arizona State University) about access to, use of, and attitudes about digital technology among African-American youth. (2014-2016)


A study with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Vikki Katz (Rutgers), also for the Gates Foundation, about technology use and attitudes in Hispanic families with children in the K-8th grades. (2015)

The firm is run by Vicky Rideout, a veteran Foundation executive, non-profit program director, and political aide whose career has run the gamut from working with then-State Senator Barack Obama on his historic speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention, to winning an Emmy Award with MTV for most effective public service campaign, to being published in peer-reviewed journals like the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Pediatrics, and the Journal of Marketing and Public Policy (where she received the Thomas Kinnear Award recognizing the article that “makes the most significant contribution to the understanding of marketing and public policy issues within the most recent three-year period). 

Ms. Rideout founded VJR Consulting in 2010, and since then the firm's clients have included Northwestern University, Common Sense Media, the Joyful Heart Foundation, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, and many others.  The firm's projects have included national surveys on children's use of new technology, families' use of educational media in the home, parenting in the digital era, teenagers' experiences with social media, and teachers' opinions about the educational impact of students' media use. The company's work for our clients has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, and many other news outlets.  We have helped our clients negotiate media partnerships worth millions of dollars with Viacom, USA network, and Time Warner Cable. 

Prior to founding VJR Consulting, Ms. Rideout spent more than ten years as a vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, where she established and directed the Foundation’s Program for the Study of Media and Health.  Prior to joining the Foundation, she founded the Children and Media program at the children’s advocacy group Children Now

At the Kaiser Foundation, Ms. Rideout negotiated ground-breaking partnerships with the television networks MTV, BET and UPN, securing high-profile, multi-million-dollar donations of media time to conduct youth-oriented public education campaigns. The public service ads, original long-form programming, and online content she helped develop through these partnerships received many awards, including a National Emmy Award for best public service campaign.  

Ms. Rideout also directed numerous media-related studies for the Foundation, including the decade-long Generation M series tracking media use among U.S. children and youth ages 8-18.  She conducted original research and authored reports on topics such as: the role of media in childhood obesity; public service advertising on television; the impact of health messages on the TV shows Grey’s Anatomy and ER; the amount and nature of food advertising on television and the Internet; the amount of sexual content on TV; teens’ use of the Internet for health information; and media multitasking among American youth.

Ms. Rideout has been a featured speaker at the Association of American Publishers, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Banff World Television Summit, the Youth Mega-Marketing Event, annual conferences of the National Association of Broadcasting and the National Cable Television Association, and at retreats for the Fox Broadcasting Company and PBS Kids.   She has testified on youth and media at the U.S. Congress, the Institute of Medicine, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission. 

Ms. Rideout also established and hosted a seminar series for staff of public health agencies in Washington, D.C., about trends in social marketing and public service advertising. The forums addressed such topics as The Digital Opportunity: Using New Media for Public Education Campaigns; Public Service Advertising in the U.S. and Great Britain; Shouting to be Heard: Public Service Advertising in a New Media Age; and Assessing the Effectiveness of Public Education Campaigns. 

In all, she has produced more than 30 forums on media and health, attracting a diverse group of high-level participants such as then-Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sam Brownback; the presidents and CEOs of MySpace, Fox Television, and MTV; television producers Dick Wolf (Law & Order) and J.J. Abrams (Lost); rap stars Chuck D. and Common; then-Vice President Al Gore; and several Chairmen of the Federal Communications Commission.

Ms. Rideout also has many years of experience in government and politics, including as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives and as a policy adviser and speechwriter to numerous officeholders and candidates. Most recently, she was the director of speechwriting for the 2004 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions, where she worked closely with the Obama campaigns on Barack Obama’s remarks to the 2004 convention, and on message and strategy for the 2008 convention. 

She currently serves as editor for Reviews and Commentary for the Journal of Children and Media, and is a member of the PBS Kids Advisory Board.  She previously served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, the James Irvine Foundation’s Leadership Awards committee, and the Advisory Council for the San Francisco Children’s Creativity Museum.

She graduated with honors from Harvard University and received her MA from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Peer-Reviewed Publications and Speeches

Behind The Scenes In Denver at the Democratic National Convention
February 11, 2009, By Katie Couric, CBS News