Avoiding the news to participate in society?

Authors Jakob Ohme, Kiki de Bruin, Yael de Haan, Sanne Kruikemeier, Toni G.L.A. van der Meer, Rens Vliegenthart
Published in Communications
Publication date 2022
Research groups Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
Type Article


Lower levels of news use are generally understood to be associated with less political engagement among citizens. But while some people simply have a low preference for news, others avoid the news intentionally. So far little is known about the relationship between active news avoidance and civic engagement in society, a void this study has set out to fill. Based on a four-wave general population panel survey in the Netherlands, conducted between April and July 2020 (N = 1,084) during a crisis situation, this research-in-brief investigates the development of news avoidance and pro-social civic engagement over time. Results suggest that higher news topic avoidance results in higher levels of civic engagement. The study discusses different explanations for why less news can mean more engagement.

On this publication contributed

  • Kiki de Bruin
    Kiki de Bruin
    • PhD candidate
    • Research group: Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
  • Yael de Haan
    Yael de Haan
    • Professor
    • Research group: Quality Journalism in Digital Transition

Language English
Published in Communications
Key words news avoidance, civic engagement, media effects, panel survey, Covid-19
Digital Object Identifier 10.1515/commun-2021-0099

Quality journalism in Digital Transition