What Does it Take to Sustain a News Habit? The Role of Civic Duty Norms and a Connection to a "News Community" Among News Avoiders in the UK and Spain

Ruth Palmer, Benjamin Toff


Why do some people maintain a news habit while others avoid news altogether? To explore that question, we put findings from an interview-based study of news avoiders in the UK and Spain into dialogue with past research on factors found to shape news consumption. We found that news avoiders saw news as having limited informational benefits and high costs in terms of time, emotional energy, and mental effort. They also did not see consuming news as a civic duty to be pursued despite the costs, nor did they have strong ties to communities that highly valued news consumption. This meant they had few social incentives to return to news habitually and that connections between distant-seeming topics in the news and immediate concerns were rarely reinforced. We conclude that group-level social factors play an understudied but important role in shaping news avoidance.


journalism, audience research, news avoidance, news consumption, qualitative interviews, comparative research, political efficacy

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