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Women's use and abuse of the news media during the COVID-19 pandemic on Mumsnet.

Pedersen, Sarah; Burnett, Simon



This article analyses news sources used by women to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK parenting website Mumsnet. By using a non-political online ‘third space’ aimed at women, Mumsnetters are able to avoid the aggression women face when they attempt to discuss news in the wider public sphere of the Internet. This third space can also act as a ‘trusted friend’, allowing women to access important news via a third party. Mumsnetters’ discussion of the news around COVID-19 complicates previous studies’ findings that women prefer to discuss news relating to health, education and the local community rather than politics and international affairs. Mumsnetters discuss the COVID-19 pandemic as both a health story and a political story. They use mainly digital journalism sources, either directly from the mainstream news media or indirectly via social media such as Twitter, thus participating in a hybrid media system. However, some Mumsnet discussants demonstrate a hostility and distrust towards mainstream news sources, even suggesting collusion between the media and the UK government, which has implications for the clear dissemination of government messages around the pandemic.


PEDERSEN, S. and BURNETT, S. 2022. Women's use and abuse of the news media during the COVID-19 pandemic on Mumsnet. Digital journalism [online], 10(6): the Coronavirus pandemic and the transformation of (digital) journalism, pages 1098-1114. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 6, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 2, 2021
Publication Date Jul 31, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 13, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 13, 2021
Journal Digital journalism
Print ISSN 2167-0811
Electronic ISSN 2167-082X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 6
Pages 1098-1114
Keywords Trustworthiness; Mumsnet; News sources; Women’s news consumption; Pandemic; COVID-19
Public URL


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