News and Democratic Citizens in the Mobile Era

Narrated by:
Kim Niemi

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2023
5 hours 14 minutes
Though people frequently use mobile technologies for news consumption, evidence from several fields shows that smaller screens and slower connection speeds pose major limitations for meaningful reading. In News and Democratic Citizens in the Mobile Era, Johanna Dunaway and Kathleen Searles demonstrate the effects of mobile devices on news attention, engagement, and recall, and identify a key cognitive mechanism underlying these effects: cognitive effort. They advance a theory that is both old and new: the costs of information-seeking curb participatory behaviors unless the benefits outweigh them. For news consumers in the mobile era, for example, mobile devices increase the time, economic, and cognitive costs associated with information-seeking. Only for a small few do the benefits of attending to the news on mobile devices outweigh the costs.

Dunaway and Searles argue that attention, engagement, and recall suffer when people consume news on mobile devices. They then investigate the implications of these effects for the news industry and for an informed democratic citizenry. Drawing on both laboratory and real-world studies, Dunaway and Searles bring the psychophysiology of news consumption to bear on the question of what we could lose in an information environment characterized by a dramatic shift in reliance on mobile devices.
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