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Political Media Use

Wolfram Peiser


To take part in the democratic process, citizens should be well informed about politics, which implies they should keep up with current affairs through the news media. Given this essential role of the media for democracy, it seems important to know to what extent and why citizens actually use political media content. While comparatively few empirical studies have focused exclusively on these questions, exposure or attention to political content is often measured in studies of political → media effects . Indeed, political media use is considered important because what people see or hear in the news media can influence their knowledge, attitudes and opinions, and political participation. Political media use refers to people's usage of both political media (such as newspapers or news magazines) and political content in all kinds of media, including the Internet. Political content normally means nonfictional content dealing with political events, issues, institutions, etc. (e.g., political news, commentary, round tables). Research on political media use is fraught with problems, and common approaches have been increasingly criticized since the start of the millennium. Inaccuracies are highly probable because “political information” or “news” can mean different things (to respondents), including short or in-depth, accessible or demanding, or even nonpolitical material. While usually ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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