Young adult audiences, news, and news satire: A double-voiced engagement

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Young adult audiences, news, and news satire: A double-voiced engagement During the past decades, news satire has become increasingly popular in many parts of the world (Baym & Jones 2013), while more traditional news genres – in print and broadcast media – seem to be losing some of its young adult audience (cf. Wadbring 2016). Additionally, in the contemporary media landscape, audiences engage with both news and its satirical counterparts across most media forms. These developments can be related to growing levels of political cynicism and lacking political engagement (cf. Hart & Hartelius 2007) – or, interpreted differently – a lessening of political efficacy (Doona 2016), as well as a growing dissatisfaction with conventional political journalism among young adults (cf. Marchi 2012; Doona 2016). This paper seeks to understand these relationships and developments further, through the various ways in which young adult audiences engage with, and through, news and news satire. More specifically, it asks in what ways young adult audiences choose, make sense of, and compare news and news satire, in order to contribute to the scholarly discussion on the values of news satire in relation to ‘straight’ news, and the problems facing conventional news media. If young adult audiences harbour what Coleman calls a ‘democratic distaste for fundamentalist certainty’ (2013:383) towards conventional news media, how does news satire challenge such certainty? News satire might be a kind of symbolic leveler, for citizens, as Hariman proposes (2008), but it could also be argued that conventional news should function in a similar fashion: helping audiences to better understand and criticize elite power. The study draws on conceptual work on news consumption and citizenship (cf. Dahlgren 2009; Coleman 2013); humour, satire and irony (cf. Hutcheon 1994; Day 2011; Corner et al. 2013; Jones 2013) as well as on the analytical framework on audiences by Abercrombie and Longhurst (1998). In various ways, these perspectives stress the active engagement of audiences; the importance of contextualization of such audiences; and the fact that much of contemporary news media needs to problematise its ways of engaging audiences, in order to attract young adults and aid them in the process of becoming citizens. It utilizes data from questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus group sessions with 31 Swedish young adult (18-35) audiences of the Swedish public service news satire programme Tankesmedjan (SR P3, 2010-), to be able to make sense of these different, yet in some ways similar, sources of news. As the study is not yet finished, results are tentative: indicating a complex and ‘double-voiced’ (Bakhtin 1987) engagement with both news and news satire, where young adult audiences struggle with trust, escapism, and how to prioritise news consumption over other pressing aspects of late modern young adult life.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Media and Communications
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
EventNordMedia 2017: 23rd Nordic Conference on Media and Communication Research - University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
Duration: 2017 Aug 172017 Aug 19
Conference number: 23


ConferenceNordMedia 2017: 23rd Nordic Conference on Media and Communication Research
Abbreviated titleNordMedia2017
Internet address

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