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The importance of media habits in generational media use

Conference contribution
Authors Marina Ghersetti
Oscar Westlund
Published in Future of Journalism Conference, Cardiff 10-11 September, 2015
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Keywords generations; media use; social media; online news; legacy media; GC/MC model;
Subject categories Media and Communications


This article analyses how different generations’ everyday media habits—focusing on news media and social media—interrelate to media use during societal crises. It acknowledges that increasing digitalization and mobility are closely linked to fragmentation, involving pronounced differences in generational media use. Ultimately, the future of journalism and news accessing—and their respective interrelatedness to social media—carry much significance for the future of crisis communication. Different generations have formed distinct media habits, involving both household and personal media, and their uses vary in different situations. At home, people typically have more options for media use than they do while on the go, but the rise of ubiquitous media alters the situation. Research has shown that in the specific event of a societal crisis, generations will turn to the media for information in different ways. This article builds further on such research, with an empirical analysis focusing on how generations envision turning to news media and social media during societal crises, depending on their media habits in everyday life. Theoretically it builds on the GC/MC -model, a 2x2 matrix encompassing a generation-centric and a medium-centric approach. This article gives special emphasis to habits and situational conditions. It presents a statistical analysis of nationally representative Swedish survey data from 2012. The findings show that habitual media use in everyday life strongly affects envisioned media use in crisis situations, more so than the distinct capabilities of the media and personal background characteristics.

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