New rituals for public connection: Audiences' everyday experiences of digital journalism, civic engagement, and social life

Joëlle Swart*, Chris Peters, Marcel Broersma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This contribution explores how digitalization facilitates new patterns of using news to connect to larger social, cultural, civic, and political frameworks. Employing in-depth interviews and Q methodology with Dutch news users of mixed age, gender, and educational level in three regions, it finds that news still provides a major frame of reference to public issues in users’ everyday communications. Rather than a complete “de-ritualization” of news practices, wherein no common trajectories for connecting to public life can be discerned anymore, we argue that digitalization facilitates a “re-ritualization” of public connection in which traditional and new media logics interact. While the news still facilitates community, self-presentation, and security, the forms of public engagement people employ to satisfy these needs are increasingly centered on individuals, inextricably embedded in other activities, and more diverse in terms of content. Finally, we find that while news still remains central to people’s public connection, journalism not necessarily is.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging Democracy in the Digital Age : Internet Regulation, Social Media Use, and Online Civic Engagement
Number of pages19
Publication date13 Sep 2017
ISBN (Print)9783319617077
ISBN (Electronic)9783319617084
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

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