The distinct media repertoire of young adults in the digital age, especially their increasing ability to bypass the news media, inspires a wealth of research. While previous studies have focused on social- and content-related motivations to avoid the news, we have yet to fully understand the interplay of such motivations with material, technology-related considerations. Drawing on 36 in-depth interviews with Israeli young adults, this paper explores the varied motivations of young audiences to avoid the news through a texto-material conceptualization of news avoidance as directed at both contents and objects. An inductive-qualitative analysis of young adults' media consumption narratives identified three main dimensions: content, medium, and user-oriented news avoidance. The study demonstrates the material aspects of both deliberate and unintentional news avoidance, and how they relate to content-oriented considerations. Furthermore, the Israeli socio-political context reveals that in times of crisis, these motivations are shared by both heavy and light news consumers. Taken together, the different avoidance motivations and practices identified in this study provide an analytical framework to further understand news avoidance and design differentiated strategies to address young adults' disengagement from news.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research has been supported by the Global Partnership Fund of the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University. This study is part of the cross-national research project NET (News, Entertainment, and Technology). We are indebted to Pablo J. Boczkowski, Kaori Hayashi, Eugenia Mitchelstein, and Mikko Villi for their contribution to the design of the interviews with media users in five countries and the interviews’ coding scheme, as well as to the research assistants who were involved in the conduct of the interviews in Israel: Aysha Agbarya, Adi Aricha, Hadas Gur-Zeev, Hadassah Schwarz, and Orly Tokov. We would also like to thank Stephanie Edgerly for her comments on an earlier version of this article, and to the anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive comments on this manuscript.
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- Audience studies
- news avoidance
- news consumption
- qualitative interviews
- texto-material perspective
- young adults