Material and sensory dimensions of everyday news use

Tim Groot Kormelink*, Irene Costera Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article seeks to capture material and sensory dimensions of everyday news use that usually remain unexplored. To that end, we developed a two-sided-ethnography, filming people while they use news, allowing both researchers and participants to look in and reflect on their news use. Tapping into news users’ embodied, tacit knowledge, we found that the materiality of devices and platforms and the ways users physically handle and navigate them impact how they engage with news, in ways they themselves had not realized. We also deepened our understanding of previously found news user practices, and identified the distinct practice scrolling, which is characterized by an embodied urge to keep up the movement of the hand, even when the user finds content appealing. Finally, we show how people actively ‘make’ place and time through their news practices, using coping strategies that mediate between the comfortability of ritual news use and the disruptiveness of news content. We conclude by discussing the theoretical, methodological, and epistemological implications of our research, which include a call for a more in-situ, real-time, and non-news-centric approach to studying everyday news use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637–653
Number of pages17
JournalMedia, Culture & Society
Issue number5
Early online date5 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • embodied knowledge
  • everyday life
  • experience
  • haptic
  • materiality
  • news use
  • nonrepresentational theory
  • postphenomenology
  • sensory
  • video ethnography


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