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Habits and generational media use

Journal article
Authors Marina Ghersetti
Oscar Westlund
Published in Journalism Studies
Volume 19
Issue 7
Pages 1039-1058
ISSN 1461-670X
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Urban Safety and Societal Security Research Center/URBSEC (GU)
Pages 1039-1058
Language en
Keywords Habitual media use; GC/MC Model; Generations; displacing effects; complementary effects; crisis communication; mobile news; locative media
Subject categories Media and Communications


This article analyses how different generations’ everyday media habits—focusing on news media and social media—interrelate with media use during societal crises. It acknowledges that increasing digitalization and mobility are closely linked to fragmentation of media and individualization of media use, involving pronounced differences in generational media use. Ultimately, the future of journalism and media accessing carry much significance for the future of crisis communication. Different generations have formed distinct media habits, and their uses vary in different situations. 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 on empirical analysis, focusing on how generations envision themselves turning to news media and social media during societal crises, depending on their everyday media habits. Theoretically it builds on the GC/MC model, a 2 × 2 matrix encompassing generation-centric (GC) and medium-centric (MC) approaches. 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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