Haven't you heard? Connecting through news and journalism in everyday life

Swart, J., 2018, [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. 191 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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From Facebook to news apps and watching on demand: never in history has the Dutch news user had so many opportunities for following the news. This has resulted in many novel routines, from smartphone “checking cycles” to sharing news in WhatsApp groups. Changing news habits not only influence how users inform themselves, but also impact the social function of news. The societal relevance of journalism traditionally was anchored to how it connected people’s private and public worlds. Now however, legacy media are facing increasing competition from alternative news providers, affecting their societal legitimacy. If people can also orient themselves to public life by scrolling through Facebook updates from family and friends, why would they still watch the eight o’clock news? This dissertation explores what changing patterns of news use mean for the connective role of news and journalism.

It finds that news, especially in what users experience as an increasingly complex society, remains relevant as a shared frame of reference. However, what becomes part of those frames of reference and is defined as news is changing: a Facebook photo feels different than an item in the TV news bulletin, but users are lacking the vocabulary to address those varieties. Also, how news users construct common frames of reference through news is more diverse, more continuous, and more individual-centric than before. Finally, ”dark social media” like WhatsApp and Facebook groups become increasingly important for sharing news and facilitating public connection, because of the privacy and volatility these platforms offer.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Broersma, Marcel, Supervisor
  • Costera Meijer, Irene , Supervisor, External person
  • Peters, C.J., Co-supervisor, External person
  • Witschge, Tamara, Assessment committee
  • Deuze, M.J.P., Assessment committee, External person
  • Schrøder, K.C., Assessment committee, External person
Award date28-Jun-2018
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-0795-1
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-0794-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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