News avoidance and its effect on citizens and news media in a democratic society
2020 - present
Ongoing research
Nieuwsmijding en het effect op de burger en nieuwsmedia in een democratische samenleving

People often assume that an informed citizen is a precondition for a democratic society. In our deeply digitized media landscape, the public's media consumption has changed on a large scale. In addition to people being less loyal to a news brand and using different news repertoires, there is an emerging group that consciously or unconsciously does not consume news media at all. Why do people decide to (sometimes) avoid the news? And who are these people? And perhaps even more important: it is also unknown whether these people are informed enough about what is going on in society. Are they perhaps informed in other ways? And what does that mean for our current definition of news and the role of news media?

The objective of this PhD project is to find answers to the issues mentioned above, by gaining tangible insights into how the public is being informed in a changed media landscape and what this means for the role of news media in a democratic society.

This doctoral research consists of four sub-studies:

1) What is news avoidance?

Method: literature study and Delphi method

2) Who are news avoiders and what drives them?

Method: interviews with news avoiders

3) How and to what extent are news avoiders informed?

Method: experience sampling method among citizens during municipal elections in March 2022

4) How do news media relate to news avoidance?

Method: in-depth interviews with different news organisations


Yael de Haan
Kiki de Bruin

About Journalismlab

Research group Journalism in Digital Transition of the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht

Het lectoraat Kwaliteitsjournalistiek in Digitale Transitie (JournalismLab) doet aan de hand van diverse thema’s praktijkgericht onderzoek. Hierbij kijken we naar de wederkerigheid tussen drie journalistieke processen: productie, inhoud en effect.

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