Windows to the World: Imagining Flemish News Audiences and Their Views on Society through the Lens of News Repertoires

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Abstract

News media act as a window to the world. This window is now believed to be shrinking due to developments in digital media such as algorithmic personalization which restricts people to echo chambers in turn affecting citizens’ views on society. It is an example of the moral panics surrounding digital media and obfuscating underlying social dynamics at play. This article seeks to address this issue by looking at news use through the lens of news repertoires. Building on a representative survey of Dutch-speaking Belgian citizens, we identify four archetypical news repertoires (Limited–Panoramic–Traditional–Casual) and investigate how these relate to civic attitudes including civic (dis-) engagement, individualism, and ethnocentrism. In line with previous research, our study shows that age and socio-economic status significantly predict the constellation of one’s news repertoire. Furthermore, variances in news repertoires translate into small but significant differences in views on society, particularly between the media-rich Panoramic and media-poor Limited news repertoires regarding ethnocentrism. Finally, we discuss how in order to appease moral media panics, it is not only necessary to substantiate debates on media power with empirical insights on news use, but also to imagine news audiences in a more nuanced way.

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APA

Picone, I., & Vandenplas, R. (2021). Windows to the World: Imagining Flemish News Audiences and Their Views on Society through the Lens of News Repertoires. Digital Journalism. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2021.1972323

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