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Title [en]
What is news? News perceptions and practices among young adults in times of transition
Abstract [en]
While news remains a crucial conduit of information about society and the world, its consumption, production and distribution is in a state of flux. A wide variety of online news sites, news apps and news aggregation services increasingly compete for the attention to audiences, while social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and VKontakte have swiftly developed into crucial platforms for accessing news – making strict divisions between ‘news media’ and ‘social media’ untenable and challenging distinctions between producer and audience. At the same time, a growing body of disinformation is circulated in various online spheres, fundamentally testing citizens’ evaluative capabilities; with the contexts for sense-making around news differing markedly between different societies. These developments have sparked intense scholarly and public debate, with transforming news habits often discussed as a challenge for journalism and democracy, although attention has also been given to productive and participatory potentials. However, fewer research efforts have so far involved taking into account audiences’ own ideas of what news is, and what it means to them. This project thus calls for an imperative rethinking of the concept of news, focusing on how young adults, an age group where news consumption patterns have changed most fundamentally, define, practice and make sense of news in varied cultural and technological environments. Starting from a phenomenological perspective, we examine how young adults aged 18-24 in Estonia, Russia and Sweden perceive and practice news, and how it is made meaningful in their everyday lives. The empirical research involves a series of focus groups and in-depth interviews with a wide range of young news consumers in the three countries; relevant as societies characterised by different media systems, media consumption patterns and levels of trust in news organisations, and exemplifying divergent cultural environments in the Baltic Sea region. By adding a uniquely comparative insight into the role of news in the lives of young citizens, the research will contribute to existing knowledge about the varying and fragmented patterns of news consumption in contemporary society, crucial to meet future challenges of democratic development and informed citizenship in the Baltic Sea region, while providing a timely exploration of the interlinkages between technology, culture and transforming meanings of news.
Publications (5 of 5) Show all publications
Bengtsson, S. (2023). The Relevance of Digital News: Themes, Scales and Temporalities. Digital Journalism, 1-19
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Relevance of Digital News: Themes, Scales and Temporalities
2023 (English)In: Digital Journalism, ISSN 2167-0811, E-ISSN 2167-082X, p. 1-19Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

In news research, news relevance was for long synonymous with how journalists constructed it. But recently, scholars have questioned the assumption that journalists’ preferences correspond with their audiences’. Several studies have approached news relevance from the audience point of view, showing audiences’ news relevance is constructed as an everyday practice, through assessments of topics and brands, and at the backdrop of users’ earlier experiences. News relevance from the audience perspective however still remains undertheorized and builds on traditional understandings of news journalism. This article aims to contribute to this debate with (1) a matrix of four types of news relevance, constructed from an analysis of how young Swedish adults construct news relevance in the contemporary digital media landscape, (2) the identification of three dimensions that distinguish different kinds of news relevance from each other, and (3) a theoretical definition of news relevance from the audience’s perspective grounded in phenomenological theory and empirical analysis. This papers hence provides a deeper theoretical and empirical understanding of the ways news, understood as something broader than news journalism, is considered relevant by young audiences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Keywords
Audience, everyday life, journalism, news, phenomenology, relevance
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-50659 (URN)10.1080/21670811.2022.2150254 (DOI)000908122400001 ()2-s2.0-85145944482 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 60/2018
Available from: 2023-01-17 Created: 2023-01-17 Last updated: 2023-01-27Bibliographically approved
Bengtsson, S. & Johansson, S. (2022). The Meanings of Social Media Use in Everyday Life: Filling Empty Slots, Everyday Transformations, and Mood Management. Social Media + Society, 8(4)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Meanings of Social Media Use in Everyday Life: Filling Empty Slots, Everyday Transformations, and Mood Management
2022 (English)In: Social Media + Society, E-ISSN 2056-3051, Vol. 8, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Since their emergence in the early 2000s, social media have continued to increase in popularity, particularly among adolescents and young adults. Even though they have been studied in relation to a wide range of topics, including their role in politics, social relationships, activism, identity construction, and youth cultures, the rise of social media is also connected to a number of less dramatic, yet pervasive, shifts relating to their integration into the mundane practices of day-to-day life. In this article, we explore the uses of social media as part of everyday life, a perspective that has gained less attention in research about social media. We take an interest in how young adults create meaning around their daily practices, involving many different social media platforms. Doing so, we draw on in-depth individual and small group interviews with 67 young adults, aged 18–26, conducted in Sweden during 2019–2021. We approach social media as a joint environment, consisting of a wide range of different platforms traversed by the user. The empirical analysis identifies three significant meanings of social media: filling empty slots, everyday transformations, and mood management. These three different meanings are shaped by different temporal, spatial, and technological characteristics and emphasize the importance of social media use in the lives of the young adults.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2022
Keywords
everyday life, media practice, mood management, ritual, social media
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-50237 (URN)10.1177/20563051221130292 (DOI)000927943700001 ()2-s2.0-85142893203 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 60/2018
Available from: 2022-11-14 Created: 2022-11-14 Last updated: 2023-03-06Bibliographically approved
Bengtsson, S. (2022). The relevance of ‘news’: Types, themes, and temporalities. In: On conference web site: . Paper presented at 72nd Annual ICA Conference, Paris, May 26-30, 2022..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The relevance of ‘news’: Types, themes, and temporalities
2022 (English)In: On conference web site, 2022Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-50211 (URN)
Conference
72nd Annual ICA Conference, Paris, May 26-30, 2022.
Available from: 2022-11-08 Created: 2022-11-08 Last updated: 2022-11-15Bibliographically approved
Bengtsson, S. & Johansson, S. (2021). A phenomenology of news: Understanding news in digital culture. Journalism - Theory, Practice & Criticism, 22(11), 2873-2889
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A phenomenology of news: Understanding news in digital culture
2021 (English)In: Journalism - Theory, Practice & Criticism, ISSN 1464-8849, E-ISSN 1741-3001, Vol. 22, no 11, p. 2873-2889Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2021
Keywords
news, phenomenology, digital news, social media, young adults, media practice, news habits, audience studies, news audiences
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-40081 (URN)10.1177/1464884919901194 (DOI)000509648500001 ()2-s2.0-85078460631 (Scopus ID)1002-3.1.1-2018 (Local ID)1002-3.1.1-2018 (Archive number)1002-3.1.1-2018 (OAI)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 60/2018
Available from: 2020-02-03 Created: 2020-02-03 Last updated: 2022-02-08Bibliographically approved
Bengtsson, S., Fast, K., Jansson, A. & Lindell, J. (2021). Media and basic desires: An approach to measuring the mediatization of daily human life. Communications: the European Journal of Communication Research, 46(2), 275-296
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Media and basic desires: An approach to measuring the mediatization of daily human life
2021 (English)In: Communications: the European Journal of Communication Research, ISSN 0341-2059, E-ISSN 1613-4087, Vol. 46, no 2, p. 275-296Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The extended reliance on media can be seen as one indicator of mediatization. But even though we can assume that the pervasive character of digital media essentially changes the way people experience everyday life, we cannot take these experiences for granted. There has recently been a formulation of three tasks for mediatization research; historicity, specificity and measurability, needed to empirically verify mediatization processes across time and space. In this article, we present a tool designed to handle these tasks, by measuring the extent to which people experience that media reach into the deeper layers of daily human life. The tool was tested in an empirical study conducted in Sweden in 2017. The results show that perceived media reliance is played out in relation to three types of basic desires: (1) (re)productive desires, (2) recognition desires, and (3) civic desires, and is socially structured and structuring. We argue this tool, in diachronic analyses, can measure one important aspect of mediatization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mouton de Gruyter, 2021
Keywords
mediatization, media reliance, daily life, basic desires, social stratification
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-40908 (URN)10.1515/commun-2019-0122 (DOI)000659208500006 ()2-s2.0-85091390216 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 60/2018
Available from: 2020-06-09 Created: 2020-06-09 Last updated: 2022-01-20Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorJohansson, Sofia
Co-InvestigatorBengtsson, Stina
Co-InvestigatorOpermann, Signe
Co-InvestigatorRoudakova, Natalia
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
Funder
Period
2019-01-01 - 2021-12-31
Keywords [sv]
Östersjö- och Östeuropaforskning
Keywords [en]
Baltic and East European studies
National Category
Media Studies
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:2058Project, id: 60/2018_OSS

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