Conceptualizing News Avoidance: Towards a Shared Understanding of Different Causes and Potential Solutions

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Abstract

News avoidance is considered an increasing problem for the news industry and democracy at large. As news companies lose consumers, democracy loses the informed foundation for an engaged citizenry. Meanwhile, research on news avoidance is hampered by the lack of a common understanding of the phenomenon. In this conceptual study, we first review and discuss extant conceptualizations and operationalisations of news avoidance. Second, we present a model distinguishing two types of news avoidance—intentional and unintentional—depending on the underlying causes leading people to tune out. Third, we argue that different solutions apply to the two types of news avoidance. To engage intentional news avoiders, the news selection and news presentation must to be changed. To engage unintentional news avoiders, the opportunity structures provided in the media system must be more favourable towards inadvertent news exposure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume21
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)459-476
ISSN1461-670X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • News avoidance
  • inadvertent audiences
  • media preferences
  • media trust
  • news consumption
  • news overload
  • opportunity structures

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