Cognitive, Affective, or No Engagement? How Young Adults in Austria Deal with Media Coverage on the EU

Christina Ortner


Drawing on qualitative data from a mixed-method study, this paper analyses 30 cases
to find out, how and why young adults in Austria engage in media coverage on the EU. The analyses
shows that young people react quite differently to media reports on this topic. While some pay attention,
actively search for information and intensively deal with EU content (cognitive engagement), others do not
follow European affairs but react emotional when they come across it (affective engagement). The third
group is characterised by a very low overall level of engagement. Both, intensity and form of engagement
depend on young people’s satisfaction with EU media coverage, their general relation to information
media, politics and the EU and their willingness to make efforts. Finally, the data suggest that political
cynicism does not necessarily lead to disengagement, but rather to a more emotional and less constructive
form of engagement.

Klíčová slova

media engagement; audience engagement; political engagement; young people; European Union; EU; media

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