Taking a Break from News: A Five-nation Study of News Avoidance in the Digital Era

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This article comparatively examines news avoidance in a rapidly changing media environment. We utilize findings from a large dataset of 488 in-depth interviews with media consumers, conducted in Argentina, Finland, Israel, Japan, and the US. We aim to make a contribution to the study of news avoidance by providing a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the drivers, practices, and patterns of news avoidance as they occur in and are shaped by a variety of national contexts. We argue that news avoidance is shaped not only by individual characteristics, but is also manifested and performed as part of specific time frames and socio-cultural factors. We distinguish two drivers of intentional news avoidance: cognitive and emotional. The cognitive drivers are accentuated by distinct country-level contextual factors, whereas the emotional drivers for news avoidance are shared across diverse national contexts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)148-164
Number of pages17
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 17H01833, and Global Partnership Fund of the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University. The authors would like to thank Aysha Agbarya, Victoria Andelsman, Adi Aricha, Tomás Bombau, Sofía Carcavallo, Silvina Chmiel, Rodrigo Gil Buetto, Rosario Giqueaux, Camila Giuliano, Hadas Gur-Zeev, Anni Juusola, Kateryna Kasianenko, Hiroki Kato, Zhang Lei, Silvana Leiva, Mora Matassi, Chie Matsumoto, Pilar Passon, Jeanette Rodriguez, Amy Ross Arguedas, Salla Salminen, Hadassah Schwarz, Asako Shimizu, Orly Tokov, Celeste Wagner, and Maaya Yui, who worked as research assistants for this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • News avoidance
  • audiences
  • cross-national research
  • journalism
  • news consumption
  • qualitative research


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