Tuning Out the News. A Cross-Media Perspective on News Avoidance Practices of Young News Users in Flanders During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Samenvatting

The coronavirus pandemic sent tremors throughout the news landscape. While the onset of the pandemic appeared to significantly increase news hunger, soon after, studies reported an uptick in what they termed “coronablocking”: the conscious avoidance of coronavirus related news. Younger age groups in particular appeared more likely to engage in coronablocking. This article seeks to contribute to extant research by providing a textured account of how and why young news users avoid the news. To explore these questions, we conducted 25 in-depth interviews with Belgian news users under the age of 35. We propose that news avoidance practices are fluid, as news avoidance was often preceded by moments of increased news consumption, and inherently connected to the specific spatiotemporal context of users and enacted within their broader media repertoire. In our analysis, we discuss the user-identified characteristics which lead users to a ‘tipping point’, at which point they avoided the news to varying degrees by reconfiguring their media repertoire. Three types of reconfigurations are identified: tuning out news content, regulating the flow of information, and controlling the tone of voice, all of which underline users’ agency in shaping their repertoires to avoid the news.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)2197-2217
Aantal pagina's21
TijdschriftJournalism Studies
Volume22
Nummer van het tijdschrift16
DOI's
StatusPublished - 30 okt 2021

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