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Bridging Gaps in Cross-Cutting Media Exposure: The Role of Public Service Broadcasting

Fri, May 26, 15:30 to 16:45, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo 206


Previous studies show that individual political interest is an antecedent of news media exposure, particularly of exposure to differing views. Nevertheless, little is known about this effect from a comparative perspective: how do media institutions affect the relationship between political interest and exposure to cross-cutting viewpoints? One institutional feature that varies between countries is the ownership of broadcast media. This study investigates the extent to which the relative dominance of public service broadcasting alters the relationship between political interest and non-likeminded, or cross-cutting news media exposure across 27 EU countries. The analyses employ survey data from 27,079 individuals and media content from 48,983 news stories. The results confirm that the extent to which political interest contributes to cross-cutting exposure is contingent on the strength of public service broadcasting. The stronger the broadcaster, the smaller the gaps between the most and least politically engaged individuals.