Media Exposure

Understanding and measuring how people use or are “exposed” to media is critical for our understanding of communication effects. This is especially challenging considering the increasingly fragmented media lanscape, and the move towards online environments in which individuals are exposed to or create an enormous variety of messages, any time and anywhere. At the same time, the move to digital environments also opens up a series of opportunities to increase our knowledge about media use, including via passive measurement through tracking data, or receiving responses in real time.

The Digital Communication Methods Lab explores the opportunities and challenges associated with media exposure measurement in our current media landscape. One of the its main initiatives is the Media Exposure Measures website, a central place where researchers can find, discuss and evaluate measures of media exposure used in previous research. Other projects include investigations about how to best use tracking data, mobile applications and linkages between survey and media content data.

Projects – 2019

Measuring media exposure with mobile experience sampling

Digicomlab Researcher: Lukas Otto
With “the end of screentime” due to digitalization, personalization and hybrid media environments in mind, communication scholars are desperately searching for new ways to assess media exposure. Digital devices could be part of the solution when it comes to the measurement of news media usage. Within this project, we use the mobile experience sampling method (mESM) to assess people’s exposure to political communication online and offline. We use short questionnaires on participants’ Smartphone to measure news media exposure as well as political discussions directly after the reception situation several times per day. By using different mESM designs, we do not only try and improve self-report measures of communication exposure, but also advance the development of intensive longitudinal methods in communication research.

Selected Presentations and Publications:


  • Loecherbach, F., Moeller, J., Trilling, D., Van Atteveldt, W., & Helberger, N. (2020). Perceived control and satisfaction in news recommender systems. Paper presented at the Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap, Amsterdam.
  • Loecherbach, F., Moeller, J., Trilling, D., Van Atteveldt, W., & Helberger, N. (2020). Perceived control and satisfaction in news recommender systems. Paper presented at the Annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Gold Coast.
  • Moeller, J., Loecherbach, F., & Helberger, N. (2020). Out of control? Understanding user agency in news recommendation systems. Paper presented at the Michigan Symposium on media and politics, Ann Arbor.


  • Loecherbach, F., & Trilling, D. (2019). 3bij3 – Developing a framework for researching recommender systems and their effects. Available at:


  • de Vreese, C. H., Boukes, M., Schuck, A., Vliegenthart, R., Bos, L., & Lelkes, Y. (2017). Linking survey and media content data: Opportunities, considerations, and pitfalls. Communication Methods and Measures, 11(4), 221-244. DOI: 10.1080/19312458.2017.1380175
  • Araujo, T., Wonneberger, A., Neijens, P., & de Vreese, C. (2017). How much time do you spend online? Understanding and improving the accuracy of self-reported measures of internet use. Communication Methods and Measures, 11(3), 173-190. DOI: 10.1080/19312458.2017.1317337


  • de Vreese, C. H., & Neijens, P. (2016). Measuring media exposure in a changing communications environment. Communication Methods and Measures, 10(2-3), 69-80. DOI: 10.1080/19312458.2016.1150441
  • Ohme, J., Albæk, E., & de Vreese, C. H. (2016). Exposure research going mobile: A smartphone-based measurement of media exposure to political information in a convergent media environment. Communication Methods and Measures, 10(2-3), 135-148. DOI: 10.1080/19312458.2016.1150972