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Mapping the mobile DNA of news : understanding incidental and serendipitous mobile news consumption

(2020) DIGITAL JOURNALISM. 8(1). p.49-68
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Abstract
Scholarly work argues that mobile technology facilitates serendipitous news consumption. This article examines how users understand serendipity in mobile news consumption and whether this leads to news diversity. Technology-mediated news encounters are argued to reduce news diversity, yet these theoretical filter bubbles cannot be found empirically. This paper investigates whether this might be explained by incidental news use. A mixed methods study (n = 20) was set-up, which involved interviews, on-device loggings and experience sampling data. Results show that incidental news differs in the level of user agency, ranging from responding to an unsolicited recommendation or alert; via monitoring, facilitated by a previous action (e.g. activated news notifications); to browsing or stumbling upon unexpected topics during news use. Incidental encounters become serendipitous when they provide new information or insights and consequently stick in one's mind. Based on our findings, we further develop a conceptual model for (mobile) incidental news, which shows the interplay of news recommendations by peers, algorithms, and editors. Editorial recommendations result in topic diversity. Both peer and algorithmic recommendations lead to brand diversity, yet this remains unnoticed to audiences. Peer recommendations mostly do not lead to topic or viewpoint diversity, but are perceived as valuable when they do.
Keywords
Incidental news, news consumption, news diversity, mixed methods research, mobile news, MobileDNA, serendipity, social recommendations, INFORMATION-SEEKING, MEDIA, DIVERSITY, EXPOSURE, DEVICES, PEOPLE, USERS, HABIT

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MLA
Van Damme, Kristin, et al. “Mapping the Mobile DNA of News : Understanding Incidental and Serendipitous Mobile News Consumption.” DIGITAL JOURNALISM, vol. 8, no. 1, 2020, pp. 49–68.
APA
Van Damme, K., Martens, M., Van Leuven, S., Vanden Abeele, M., & De Marez, L. (2020). Mapping the mobile DNA of news : understanding incidental and serendipitous mobile news consumption. DIGITAL JOURNALISM, 8(1), 49–68.
Chicago author-date
Van Damme, Kristin, Marijn Martens, Sarah Van Leuven, Mariek Vanden Abeele, and Lieven De Marez. 2020. “Mapping the Mobile DNA of News : Understanding Incidental and Serendipitous Mobile News Consumption.” DIGITAL JOURNALISM 8 (1): 49–68.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van Damme, Kristin, Marijn Martens, Sarah Van Leuven, Mariek Vanden Abeele, and Lieven De Marez. 2020. “Mapping the Mobile DNA of News : Understanding Incidental and Serendipitous Mobile News Consumption.” DIGITAL JOURNALISM 8 (1): 49–68.
Vancouver
1.
Van Damme K, Martens M, Van Leuven S, Vanden Abeele M, De Marez L. Mapping the mobile DNA of news : understanding incidental and serendipitous mobile news consumption. DIGITAL JOURNALISM. 2020;8(1):49–68.
IEEE
[1]
K. Van Damme, M. Martens, S. Van Leuven, M. Vanden Abeele, and L. De Marez, “Mapping the mobile DNA of news : understanding incidental and serendipitous mobile news consumption,” DIGITAL JOURNALISM, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 49–68, 2020.
@article{8625687,
  abstract     = {Scholarly work argues that mobile technology facilitates serendipitous news consumption. This article examines how users understand serendipity in mobile news consumption and whether this leads to news diversity. Technology-mediated news encounters are argued to reduce news diversity, yet these theoretical filter bubbles cannot be found empirically. This paper investigates whether this might be explained by incidental news use. A mixed methods study (n = 20) was set-up, which involved interviews, on-device loggings and experience sampling data. Results show that incidental news differs in the level of user agency, ranging from responding to an unsolicited recommendation or alert; via monitoring, facilitated by a previous action (e.g. activated news notifications); to browsing or stumbling upon unexpected topics during news use. Incidental encounters become serendipitous when they provide new information or insights and consequently stick in one's mind. Based on our findings, we further develop a conceptual model for (mobile) incidental news, which shows the interplay of news recommendations by peers, algorithms, and editors. Editorial recommendations result in topic diversity. Both peer and algorithmic recommendations lead to brand diversity, yet this remains unnoticed to audiences. Peer recommendations mostly do not lead to topic or viewpoint diversity, but are perceived as valuable when they do.},
  author       = {Van Damme, Kristin and Martens, Marijn and Van Leuven, Sarah and Vanden Abeele, Mariek and De Marez, Lieven},
  issn         = {2167-0811},
  journal      = {DIGITAL JOURNALISM},
  keywords     = {Incidental news,news consumption,news diversity,mixed methods research,mobile news,MobileDNA,serendipity,social recommendations,INFORMATION-SEEKING,MEDIA,DIVERSITY,EXPOSURE,DEVICES,PEOPLE,USERS,HABIT},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {49--68},
  title        = {Mapping the mobile DNA of news : understanding incidental and serendipitous mobile news consumption},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2019.1655461},
  volume       = {8},
  year         = {2020},
}

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