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

Journal article
Authors M. Skovsgaard
Kim Andersen
Published in Journalism Studies
ISSN 1461-670X
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Keywords News avoidance, news consumption, media trust, news overload, media, preferences, opportunity structures, inadvertent audiences, current-affairs, political knowledge, media use, television, consumption, journalism, exposure, entertainment, audience, choice, Communication
Subject categories Communication Studies


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.

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