Negotiating News: How Cross-Cutting Romantic Partners Select, Consume, and Discuss News Together

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As political partisanship intensifies, political similarity in romantic partnerships has become increasingly common. Still, there exist many for whom their romantic partnership is “cross-cutting,” or one in which partners hold dissimilar political beliefs, and for whom the selection, consumption, and discussion of news may be especially challenging. Drawing from literature on news exposure, co-viewing, and political talk, I consider the influence of cross-cutting romantic partnerships on if and how romantic partners select, consume, and discuss news with each other. Through in-depth interviews with individuals in cross-cutting romantic partnerships (N = 67), I find that cross-cutting couples experience two phenomena when navigating news: a) negotiated exposure, in which partners influence the news one another selects and consumes, and b) two-step conflict, in which news content, source, and volume spurred conflict, not only discussion, between partners. I consider the implications of these phenomena for the study of political polarization, news use, and political discussion, and advocate for these areas of research to consider relational contexts in their approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-243
Number of pages20
JournalPolitical Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024


  • Cross-cutting
  • in-depth interviews
  • news
  • polarization
  • political communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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