The intermediate time of news consumption

2017-05-12T09:53:06Z (GMT) by Emily Keightley John Downey
Many accounts of contemporary mediated communication of various kinds emphasise speed, immediacy and simultaneity as overriding temporal characteristics, and accounts of journalism are no exception. Acceleration in journalistic practice and the associated changes in news content and its communication have a variety of consequences. In the most extreme accounts, this produces ever-shallower news content while the immediacy of its delivery collapses deliberative time for its interpretation. This article attempts to challenge some of the assumptions on which these assertions are based by taking an alternative starting point in analysing news time and temporality: the news audience. We argue that many accounts which emphasise the paralysing effects of fast communication and the acceleration of news in particular fail to acknowledge the complexities of news consumption, instead pessimistically reading off the effects of speed from communications technologies themselves. We go on to consider the value of social scientific audience research characterisation of practices of consuming the news in contemporary culture and suggest that these need to be accompanied by ethnographic approaches to the audience which engage with the ways in which meaning is produced from the resources that journalism provides in everyday lived contexts.