Meet Kim Andersen
How does people's consumption of news affect their political beliefs and commitment? And what are the consequences when some people do not consume news? This is what Kim Andersen, an Associate Professor at the Centre for Journalism, aims to investigate further, as part of the SAMF Talent Track. Learn more about his research and visions in this Q&A.
What are your research interests?
I do research on people’s news consumption and how it affects their political beliefs and engagement. Currently, I am especially engaged with topics such as news avoidance, trust in the news media, and use of alternative news media.
How did you become interested in your field of research?
I have always been fascinated by politics and the news. I remember following Election Night in the television as a kid with much interest. After studying political science for a few years, I briefly entered the journalism programme. But practicing journalism was not really my thing.
What I enjoyed was reflecting on the role that the news media play in democracy. So, I went back to study political science, and here my interest eventually led me to pursue a PhD, focusing on how people’s news consumption affects their political engagement. Over the years, however, I have become increasingly interested in why people do not consume news.
What research question would you above all like to find the answer to? And why is that?
We live in a time when a well-informed citizenry is perhaps more important than ever before. The news media play a key role by providing citizens with information and keeping them up to date on political affairs. But despite the constant availability of news, a growing group of citizens is disconnecting from journalism. In an era of filter bubbles, misinformation, and polarization, the tendency to turn away from the news media challenges the robustness of our democracies.
I would like to get a nuanced understanding of what the causes and consequences of such news avoidance are. But above all, I would like to understand how these people can be reconnected with journalism. In essence: how can journalists select and present news to appeal to those otherwise avoiding news? Looking at the non-stop flow of breaking news, negativity, and opinionated content prominent in most news media today, there is no doubt that journalism can improve.
Which impact do you expect the Talent Track will have on your career and on your research field in general?
I hope that my enrolment in the Talent Track will help me secure an elite grant to establish a research group on “the disconnected news audience” and become a leading scholar within this topic.
Which impact do you expect your research to have on the surrounding society?
Understanding the causes and consequences of news avoidance and identifying potential countermeasures to this audience behaviour will provide valuable knowledge for the news industry, helping them define tomorrow’s journalism, but ultimately it will hopefully also help securing a more well-informed citizenry and hence a stronger democracy.
Kim Andersen is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Journalism.