While our journal enjoys increasing recognition by international readers and authors, it also remains a vital forum for Swiss communication and media studies. The current issue testifies to this attachment, as it includes research from universities in Switzerland’s German-, French-, and Italian-speaking parts. The General Section opens with two articles addressing the micro level of in-person communication and the macro level of mass-mediated discourses in the public sphere. In the first article, Jonathan Gruber, Eszter Hargittai, and Minh Hao Nguyen from the University of Zurich investigate the value of face-to-face communication in a world where digital communication technologies are omnipresent. The researchers draw on survey data collected in the U.S. when the first COVID-19-related lockdown limited in-person interactions. They use this opportunity to study what people value in face-to-face interactions, as this likely becomes more salient to people when in-person interactions are less available. Their results show that most people missed elements of face-to-face interaction, such as the special value of spontaneous conversation and physical closeness. The study also sheds light on which modes of digital communication seem to compensate for the lack of face-to-face interactions better than others.
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