Incidentality on a continuum: A comparative conceptualization of incidental news consumption

Eugenia Mitchelstein*, Pablo J. Boczkowski, Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt, Kaori Hayashi, Mikko Villi, Neta Kligler-Vilenchik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This article seeks to contribute to theorizing the dynamics of incidental news consumption. Through an analysis of 200 semi-structured interviews with people in Argentina, Finland, Israel, Japan, and the United States, we show that intentionality in news consumption can be viewed on a continuum, which goes from deliberately setting apart time to access the news on specific outlets to skimming through unsought-for news on social and broadcast media, with intermediate practices such as respondents setting up an environment where they are more or less likely to encounter news. Drawing on structuration theory, this article conceptualizes incidental news in the context of the wider media environment and across multiple levels of analysis and explores how individual agency and social structure interact to shape information acquisition practices.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1136-1153
Number of pages18
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Audience studies
  • broadcast news
  • incidental news consumption
  • online journalism
  • social media
  • transnational media studies


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