English title: Media choice and informed democracy. Towards increasing news consumption gaps in Europe?

Author(s): Toril Aalberg - Arild Blekesaune - Eiri Elvestad -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2013


It was previously perceived as a citizen’s responsibility to follow the news and to keep oneself informed about politics and current affairs. Recently, however, it appears as though a growing number of citizens ignore the information opportunities given to them. Changes in the media environment have given people cross-nationally more of a choice regarding the media diet they prefer. For the American case, Prior has demonstrated that in an era of cable TV and Internet, people more readily remove themselves from political knowledge and political action than previously. In this article, we study how the public’s consumption of news versus entertainment has developed over the last decade in countries with significantly different media systems. Is there a general increase in preference for entertainment across Europe, and has the gap between news- and entertainment-seekers increased such as documented by Prior for the U.S. case? Who are the European citizens who remove themselves from news and current affairs in the environment of increased choice? Based on data from five waves of the European Social Survey covering more than thirty European countries from 2002 to 2010, we demonstrate how national context or the media environment moderates the influence of individual-level factors in news consumption.

Volume: 18

Issue: 3

From page no: 281

To page no: 303

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/1940161213485990

Journal: Harvard Internation Journal of Press/Politics

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