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Modelling News Media Use. Positing and applying the GC/MC model to the analysis of media use in everyday life and crisis situations

Journal article
Authors Oscar Westlund
Marina Ghersetti
Published in Journalism Studies
Volume 16
Issue 2
Pages 133-151
ISSN 1461-670X
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 133-151
Language en
Keywords complementary effects; crisis communication; cross-media use; digital journalism; displacing effects; GC/MC model; news; sociology of media generations
Subject categories Media and Communications


The contemporary mediascape offers a plethora of news media and social media, which people can turn to in everyday life and during a crisis. Generations develop routinized media usage patterns in the formative phases of their lives, which they often maintain in their daily habits in everyday life (generation-centric (GC) approach). The characteristics of media vary, providing different logics and affordances, and occupying different niches in time and space (mediumcentric (MC) approach). Crisis events in the vicinity, such as gas emissions, terrorist attacks, pandemics and earthquakes, presumably ignite an augmented interest for information and news on the events that may cause a destabilization of established media usage routines. This article aims to conceptualize, describe and explain how four generations envision their media use during such crises. The article posits the GC/MC-model, a 2 × 2 matrix encompassing a generation-centric vis-á-vis a medium-centric approach, from which two hypotheses are derived. Statistical analysis of nationally representative survey data provides evidence that all generations, and both daily and less frequent users of different media, envision themselves turning to these during a crisis. Their envisioned broadening of media use, predominantly involving commanding attention to immediate news media reporting, results in a cross-generational homogenization of media use.

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