Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Erin Ruppel

Committee Members

Mike Allen, Michael Beam


News recommender system users obtain news via incidental exposure to news and

experience serendipity in the incidental news consumption. Serendipitous news discovery, the

same as serendipity, refers to discovering unexpected and useful information unintentionally.

Researchers suggest building serendipitous news recommender systems and increasing

serendipitous news discovery to increase the diversity of the news consumption. However, the

impacts of serendipitous news discovery on news consumption are uninvestigated, and rare

research provides theoretical guidance to the serendipitous news recommender systems. The thesis

investigated the impacts of serendipitous news discovery on news consumption with a serendipityrelated

emotion, surprise, as a mediator and need for activation as a moderator. 463 participants

recruited from Amazon MTurk completed the online survey-experiment. The findings suggest that

surprise mediates the correlations between serendipitous news discovery and news consumption.

Users who experience higher serendipitous news discovery indicate more positive attitudes

on news consumption in the news recommender systems. The results also indicate the possibility

that the lack of constant serendipitous news discovery may lead to the consumption of the news

similar to the news that trigger serendipity. The research suggests that serendipitous news

discovery increases news consumption, including news selection and reading.

Included in

Communication Commons