Challenging Selective Exposure: Do online news users choose sites that match their interests and preferences?

Damian Trilling*, Klaus Schoenbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Today’s online news environment has made it easy to select outlets covering the topics one is interested in and the political viewpoints one shares. Previous research often examined either the diversity of news content or the audience’s choices. This study of online news use in Austria does both to assess audience selectivity systematically. It first investigates the topics and bias of news sites based on a content analysis (N = 2069), before survey data (N = 2829) are used to investigate how far online news users select outlets that match their preferences. Content differences exist to some extent, but people hardly match them with their personal preferences. We conclude that, across the population, there is a substantive interest in general-interest digital journalism. In contrast to what selective exposure research suggests, factors other than interests and orientation might guide the choice for a specific news site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-157
Number of pages18
JournalDigital Journalism
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 4 2015

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Keywords

  • content analysis
  • fragmentation
  • news audiences
  • online news
  • selective exposure
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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