Does the audience welcome an audience-oriented journalism?

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Although the ‘audience turn’ (Costera Meijer, 2020) in journalism has been extensively discussed in studies, and journalists acknowledge the need to improve their relationship with their audience (Nelson and Lewis 2022), the audience’s perspective on journalistic roles remains underexplored (Riedl and Eberl, 2020). Generally, the examination of journalistic roles has been from a production perspective (Hanusch 2019). We aim to address this ‘gap’ by examining journalism as a discursive institution (Zelizer 1993), and focusing on audience-oriented roles, defined in the Worlds of Journalism-study as accommodative roles (Hanitzsch et al. 2019). We surveyed a representative sample (N = 1577) of Flemish respondents about their news use, news attitudes, and their views on audience-oriented journalistic roles. Regression models were used to predict differences in how different subsets of news users view the importance of these journalistic roles. Our findings reveal that subsets of users have diverse expectations of what journalists should do, for instance, younger audiences expect journalists to act less as explainers than older audiences. Incorporating the audience’s views in the discussion of journalistic roles could be a useful approach to strengthen the audience-journalism relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-754
Number of pages20
Issue number4
Early online date12 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Roularta Chair on Personalisation, Trust and Sustainable media (CHAIR31).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Copyright 2023 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • journalistic roles
  • Audience turn
  • Audience logic
  • Audience expectations
  • Journalism
  • quantitative methods


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