Leeds Beckett University
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The Impact of Haptics Upon the Consumption of Journalistic Content

posted on 2023-06-27, 15:13 authored by Sarah CooperSarah Cooper

Literature has examined the practice of journalism from a ‘content creation’ perspective: namely, the creation of articles and news that utilise the multiplatforms of print and online, whilst maintaining robust revenue streams. However, this thesis argues that the focus on content creation has been to the industry’s detriment, because it fails to account for the significance of the experience of content consumption. This research focuses on the print and digital publications of journalistic content, most notably magazines. There is discussion with regards the multisensory aspect of journalistic-content consumption, with a particular focus on our sense of touch, and how this may affect our interpretation of what we have read. I deploy a phenomenological methodology to explore the interpretation of the lived experience of consuming journalistic content. Primary research is conducted to ascertain the impact of haptics in the consumption of journalistic content, specifically content that is printed onto different qualities of paper. Interviews, focus groups and quantitative data gathered from a biometric-tracking device are key elements of the methodology, with collected data providing an insight into the degree to which haptics impacts upon our lived experience of consuming journalistic content. Rather than content being ‘king’, this thesis asserts that it is the consumption of the content that is supreme in the phenomena of journalism and its related artefacts. Consequently, the research is underpinned by phenomenology but also questions the physiological impact that the haptics of a journalistic brand has on the lived experience. The lived experience is shaped by sensory stimuli and this thesis focuses on the stimuli of our sense of touch and how it impacts upon the reader’s perception of the content they are reading and the brand within which it is published. We are experiencing a ‘haptic moment’ (Parisi et al, 2017) within media technologies, a moment wherein the importance of a stimulus to our sense of touch within our consumption of media content is more thoroughly appreciated. This thesis contributes to the debate with qualitative data relating to the lived experience that suggests haptics can impact upon the consumption of journalistic content. It also complements existing studies that explore a lived experience from a quantitative perspective: it takes preliminary steps down an avenue that may give an insight into the physiological impact that haptics can have in the lived experience of journalistic-content consumption. Ultimately, a deeper understanding of the phenomena of journalistic-content consumption may assist in the repositioning of business models to ensure a firmer foothold on the digital landscape.


Qualification name

  • PhD


Raisborough, Jayne ; Chan, Melanie

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


Qualification level

  • Doctoral


  • eng


Leeds Beckett University

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