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ICA pre-conference

Location: Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 123 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2M9, Canada
Date: 25 May 2023


Research examining news avoidance has increased considerably over the last five years in journalism studies and political communication as well as among those who study audiences, technology, and mass communication. There are also indications that the COVID-19 pandemic and other circumstances have been associated with a rise in news avoidance in multiple countries (Newman et al. 2022). However, news avoidance as a concept has been defined in a variety of ways (intentional or unintentional, habitual or situational, universal to all topics or domain-specific) and we still know little about the mechanisms behind its different forms nor its possible consequences on an informed citizenry.

Even less is known about how resistance to news relates to other audience phenomena such as compulsions around consuming large quantities of news at all hours (also known as “Doomscrolling”, Ytre-Arne & Moe, 2020)—practices that the contemporary media environment may facilitate. This pre-conference brings together scholars on these subjects to shed light on the diverse ways that people consume—and especially avoid—news. The goal is to consider definitions, what predicts these behaviours in different countries and media environments, various expressions/manifestations of news avoidance as well as its possible societal and political consequences.