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Mobile News Consumption and Its Relation to Young Adults’ Knowledge About and Participation in Referendums


Vogler, Daniel; Weston, Morley; Ryffel, Quirin; Rauchfleisch, Adrian; Eisenegger, Mark; Schwaiger, Lisa; Christen, Urs (2023). Mobile News Consumption and Its Relation to Young Adults’ Knowledge About and Participation in Referendums. Media and Communication, 11(1):6-18.

Abstract

The news media are among the most important sources of information about political events, such as referendums. For
young adults, the smartphone has become the main device for accessing news. However, we know little about the factors
influencing mobile news consumption and how this consumption is related to political knowledge and political participation.
This study investigates the antecedents of young individuals’ smartphone news consumption and how it is correlated
with their knowledge about and participation in two referendums in Switzerland. We record the mobile internet usage of
309 young adults and link their digital trace data to survey data. We show that trust in news media and the use of broadcast
media are positively correlated with the duration of mobile news consumption. The use of social media leads to more
news source diversity. However, we find that the duration of mobile news consumption and news source diversity are
not correlated with political knowledge about or participation in the referendum. As interest in politics is also positively
correlated with the diversity of news sources used by individual participants, our study supports the idea that attentive
audiences use a broader range of news sources to inform themselves about referendums.

Abstract

The news media are among the most important sources of information about political events, such as referendums. For
young adults, the smartphone has become the main device for accessing news. However, we know little about the factors
influencing mobile news consumption and how this consumption is related to political knowledge and political participation.
This study investigates the antecedents of young individuals’ smartphone news consumption and how it is correlated
with their knowledge about and participation in two referendums in Switzerland. We record the mobile internet usage of
309 young adults and link their digital trace data to survey data. We show that trust in news media and the use of broadcast
media are positively correlated with the duration of mobile news consumption. The use of social media leads to more
news source diversity. However, we find that the duration of mobile news consumption and news source diversity are
not correlated with political knowledge about or participation in the referendum. As interest in politics is also positively
correlated with the diversity of news sources used by individual participants, our study supports the idea that attentive
audiences use a broader range of news sources to inform themselves about referendums.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute for Research on the Public Sphere and Society
08 Research Priority Programs > Digital Society Initiative
08 Research Priority Programs > Digital Religion(s)
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mobile news consumption; news media; referendum; political knowledge; political participation; young adults
Language:English
Date:31 January 2023
Deposited On:09 Feb 2023 07:15
Last Modified:29 Mar 2024 02:40
Publisher:Cogitatio Press
ISSN:2183-2439
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v11i1.6029
Official URL:https://www.cogitatiopress.com/mediaandcommunication/article/view/6029/6029
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English