New Publication: Zooming in on Topics


Svenja Schäfer, Dominika Betakova, and Sophie Lecheler published their new paper "Zooming in on Topics: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Motives for Selective News Avoidance" in Journalism Studies.

Full Article.

Intentional news avoidance is a common behavior that can be influenced by individual, content, and contextual factors. However, prior studies have primarily focused on general news avoidance and neglected selective avoidance of specific topics. Therefore, our study aimed to determine which topics people tend to avoid and the reasons behind this behavior. We conducted an online survey (N = 1071) with open-ended questions to gather information on topic-specific news avoidance and motives. Our systematic quantitative content analysis revealed that the most commonly avoided news topics were related to the pandemic, political issues, and soft news. Participants cited negative emotional reactions and lack of interest as their primary reasons for avoiding news on an individual level, while redundancy and lack of trust were cited as reasons related to content. Logistic regression analyses revealed that specific motives were related to topic-specific avoidance. Issue fatigue was the primary motivator for avoiding news about COVID-19, while anger and lack of trust were the main reasons for avoiding political news. Lack of interest and overload were the motivators for avoiding soft news. Our study highlights the importance of understanding selective news avoidance and provides insights into the reasons why people choose to avoid certain news topics.