Swart, Joëlle, Chris Peters, & Marcel Broersma (2018). New rituals for public connection: Audiences’ everyday experiences of digital journalism, civic engagement, and social life. In Julia Schwanholz, Todd S. Graham, & Peter-Tobias Stoll (Eds.), Managing democracy in the digital age: Internet regulation, social media use, and online civic engagement (pp. 181-200). Berlin: Springer International. ISBN 978-3-319-61707-7, £86.00. (doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-61708-4_10)

Abstract: This chapter explores how digitalization facilitates new patterns of using news to connect to larger social, cultural, civic and political frameworks. Employing in-depth interviews and Q-methodology with Dutch news users of mixed age, gender and educational level in three regions, it finds that news still provides a major frame of reference to public issues in users’ everyday communications. Rather than a complete ‘de-ritualization’ of news practices, wherein no common trajectories for connecting to public life can be discerned anymore, we argue digitalization facilitates a ‘re-ritualization’ of public connection in which traditional and new media logics interact. While the news still facilitates community, self-presentation and security, the forms of public engagement people employ to satisfy these needs are increasingly centered around individuals, inextricably embedded in other activities, and more diverse in terms of content. Finally, we find that while news still remains central to people’s public connection, journalism is not necessarily.

Joëlle Swart <j.a.c.swart@rug.nl> is in the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.