News avoidance and its effect on the informed citizen in a democratic society

By following the news citizens become informed of issues and developments in society. A requirement for well-functioning democracy. However, more and more people are turning away from the news. What does this mean for the informed citizen and the role of news media in a democratic society?


How the public navigates through the widespread news landscape, and why they choose whether or not to consume something, is important to understand the changing role of news media when informing citizens. The purpose of this PhD research is to gain concrete insights into new avoiders, their motivations and how they are informed.


This PhD research is currently ongoing. During the research at least four papers willen be submitted to peer-review, ISI ranked journals. Results will also be published in trade magazines and on the blog of the research group The results will also be used for educational material.


01 February 2020 - 01 February 2024


The research on news avoidance consists of four studies:

  1. What is news avoidance?
    Literature study and Delphi-method
  2. Who are news avoiders and what are their motivations?
    Focus groups and survey among news avoiders and news consumers
  3. How are news avoiders informed?
    Experience sampling method among citizens during Dutch municipal elections March, 2022
  4. How do news media relate to news avoidance?
    In-depth interviews with various news organizations

HU researchers involved in the research

  • Researcher Koen van Turnhout
    Koen van Turnhout
    • Professor
    • Research groups: Human Experience & Media Design
  • Lex van Teeffelen research group Financial-Economic Innovation
    Lex van Teeffelen
    • Professor
    • Research groups: Financial-Economic Advice in Innovation
  • Stefan Leijnen
    • Professor
    • Research groups: Intelligent Data Systems
  • Kiki de Bruin | Researcher | Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
    Kiki de Bruin
    • Researcher
    • Research groups: Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
  • Yael de Haan | Professor | Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
    Yael de Haan
    • Professor
    • Research groups: Quality Journalism in Digital Transition

Collaboration with knowledge partners

This PhD research is under the supervision of Professor Yael de Haan (HU, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht), Prof. Rens Vliegenthart and Dr. Sanne Kruikemeier, both working at Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam.