Live, visual, social, and mobile: media ecology in emergencies and ordinary times

Azi Lev-On, Vered Uziel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyze contemporary uses and gratifications (U&G) of the media, focusing on the differences between emergency and ordinary times, and between media consumers in the border region and in the home front during the Israel-Gaza War (2014). Design/methodology/approach: The study used a questionnaire containing 184 items. This significant number of items was necessary due to the large number of media channels and potential uses examined. Due to the length of the questionnaire, and the inclusion of individuals who are not habitual internet users, data were collected in the field rather than through a telephone survey or online. The list of media and uses was compiled based on a review of existing literature regarding functions of media in emergencies. Findings: Television and news websites are dominant suppliers of national and local information, but mobile and social channels lead in terms of social uses, discussions, requests and provision of assistance. The same channels were almost always used during emergencies and ordinary times to satisfy a specific need. The leading channels – television, Facebook, WhatsApp and SMS – were used significantly more on the frontlines than on the home front. The findings demonstrate that people use diverse media, but channels that are live, visual, social and mobile are dominant. Originality/value: Very few academic studies have compared media uses during ordinary times and emergencies, and those existing focus on the uses of a specific medium. The present study examines various U&G of traditional and new media during the war, compares uses during the war with uses during ordinary times, and compares the population in the border region with the population in the home front.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-558
Number of pages14
JournalOnline Information Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 21 Aug 2018


  • Cellular
  • Emergencies
  • Emergency communication
  • Facebook
  • Internet
  • Local information
  • Printed press
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Uses and gratifications
  • Websites
  • WhatsApp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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