Most News Avoidance Is Not Deliberate, Study Finds

News avoidance is not always intentional, judging by a new survey of 1,000 Austrian consumers, published in Mass Communication and Society. Rather, it seems more casual. 

“We have found that 27.22% of self-reported low news consumption is intentional, meaning most people who consume little to no news do not report doing so on purpose,” the authors write.  

They add, “Most participants in our sample, 73.19% belong to the group with average or high news consumption and average or low intentional avoidance.” 

This does not mean that Americans are doing the same – some may be deliberately avoiding news because they are turned off by the political climate.  

In its report on this study, NiemanLab writes that intentional news avoidance was “predicted by younger age, more dissatisfaction with perceived negativity of news, and (surprisingly) a higher sense of political efficacy. Low news consumption, meanwhile, was found among those with lower trust in media and politics, and lower income.”



The study authors write, “Low news consumption reflects a general detachment from media and politics, while intentional news avoidance stems from the need to take a break from the emotionally burdensome news.” 

The authors conclude that “addressing these two dimensions of news avoidance requires different approaches. Initiatives targeting low news consumption should focus on enhancing trust, promoting transparency, and inclusivity in journalism.”

Intentional avoidance can perhaps be reduced by constructive journalism such as “emphasizing positivity, coping, and solutions.”

The authors are Dominika Betakova, Hajo BoomgaardenSophie Lecheler and Svenja Schäfer.

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