Navigating high-choice European political information environments

Laia Castro, Jesper Strömbäck, Frank Esser, Peter van Aelst, Claes de Vreese, Toril Aalberg, Ana S. Cardenal, Nicoleta Corbu, David Nicolas Hopmann, Karolina Koc-Michalska, Jörg Matthes, Christian Schemer, Tamir Sheafer, Sergio Splendore, James Stanyer, Agnieszka Stępińska, Václav Stetka, Yannis Theocharis

The transition from low- to high-choice media environments has had far-reaching implications for citizens’ media use and its relationship with political knowledge. However, there is still a lack of comparative research on how citizens combine the usage of different media and how that is related to political knowledge. To fill this void, we use a unique cross-national survey about the online and offline media use habits of more than 28,000 individuals in 17 European countries. Our aim is to (i) profile different types of news consumers and (ii) understand how each user profile is linked to political knowledge acquisition. Our results show that five user profiles – news minimalists, social media news users, traditionalists, online news seekers, and hyper news consumers – can be identified, although the prevalence of these profiles varies across countries. Findings further show that both traditional and online-based news diets are correlated with higher political knowledge. However, online-based news use is more widespread in Southern Europe, where it is associated with lower levels of political knowledge than in Northern Europe. By focusing on news audiences, this study provides a comprehensive and fine-grained analysis of how contemporary European political information environments perform and contribute to an informed citizenry.

Department of Communication
External organisation(s)
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Audencia Business School, Loughborough University, University of Gothenburg, University of Antwerp, University of Amsterdam (UvA), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) , University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Hebrew University Jerusalem, Universitá degli Studi di Milano, Adam Mickiewicz University, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, University of Silesia in Katowice, Technische Universität München, Universität Zürich (UZH)
The International Journal of Press/Politics
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
508007 Communication science, 508014 Journalism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Communication, Sociology and Political Science
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