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Kids do the Darndest Things: News Media Consumption and Political Engagement Among 15-25 Year Olds

Sat, August 11, 10:30am to 12:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Floor: Level 4, Franklin Hall 13


By analyzing data from the Youth Participatory Politics Survey, a survey of 15-25 years olds on their engagement with participatory politics (Cohen & Kahne, 2011) conducted in early 2011, this study explores how varied news consumption relates to young people’s subsequent engagement with types of participatory politics. More specifically, I test how consuming non-conventional versus conventional news media impacts three different outcomes for political participation. The outcomes I explore are if a young person voted in the last election (2010 Senate election), engaged in some form of activism (ex. Signed an online petition, attended a protest/rally, or donated money), and if they engaged in direct campaigning for a candidate, party, or issue (ex. wore a button, attended a speech/rally, or donated money). Analysis of this data indicates that consuming non-conventional news influences engaging in activism and campaigning, but is an indicator of voting. However, consuming conventional news media positively influences voting, but not activism or campaigning. My findings highlight that the type of news media matters for engagement in participatory politics.