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Audience understandings of disinformation: navigating news media through a prism of pragmatic scepticism

Kyriakidou, Maria ORCID: 2022. Audience understandings of disinformation: navigating news media through a prism of pragmatic scepticism. Journalism 10.1177/14648849221114244

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The content and effects of disinformation have become a focal point in communication studies over recent years. But how media audiences themselves interpret the meaning of disinformation and mitigate the risks it poses to their understanding of the world have remained largely understudied. This article draws upon a UK-based focus group study that examines how people conceptualise disinformation, and the ways this informs their engagement with news media. Our findings revealed that common definitions of disinformation go beyond ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories to include an array of phenomena, such as biased news, political spin and misrepresented information. Far from simply not trusting information sources or being passive recipients of disinformation, we argue that audiences have developed a pragmatic scepticism in their relationship with media across different platforms, which reflects a critical reading of news media both as texts and institutions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1464-8849
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 22 June 2022
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2023 23:32

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