Antecedents of incidental news exposure: The role of media preference, use and trust Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2020


  • 6


  • 14

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1751-2786

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1751-2794


  • The online environment has radically changed the way in which users consume, discover and manipulate news. The growing relevance of social media platforms and digital intermediaries for news sharing and consumption increase the likelihood of citizens to be exposed to online news even when they are not seeking it. This digital transformation fundamentally challenges the way online news use and exposure have been conceptualized and measured, affecting also to citizens' knowledge about public affairs and politics. This article examines the factors that predict the probability to be an "incidentally exposed news user" online. Specifically, based on a representative US sample from the Pew Research Centre, this study analyses the role of media preference, use and trust. Findings indicate that beyond users' demographics and loyalty, readers' news preferences, uses and trust, specially of social media platforms, affect their probability to be incidentally exposed to news online. These results have important empirical and theoretical implications for understanding the connection between readers' news consumption patterns and online exposure, intentional or incidental.


  • incidental news exposure; social networking sites; media trust; media preference; media use; news consumption; news