What Leads to Audience Issue Fatigue? A Linkage Analysis Study on the Effects of News Coverage on Fatigue From Ongoing News Issues

Gwendolin Gurr, Julia Metag


The news media cover certain political issues extensively for weeks, months, or years, leading the audience to become fatigued. Audience fatigue from and avoidance of ongoing political news issues are detrimental to an informed citizenry and problematic against the backdrop of citizens increasingly avoiding political news. This study examines how news coverage of an ongoing political issue affects news users’ issue fatigue. Data from a three-wave panel survey on the Brexit issue are used and linked to an extensive content analysis of print, online, and television news coverage on the issue. The results of the panel analysis show that repeated information, complexity, and strategy framing lead to issue fatigue, while the intensity of exposure to news coverage and other political news characteristics, such as negative tonality and sensationalism, have no effect. The findings inform journalism and political communication researchers about the effects of communication about ongoing political issues.


issue fatigue, news issues, news exposure, media effects, linkage analysis

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