Online news, civic awareness, and engagement in civic and political life

  • Boulianne S
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Abstract

The Internet has transformed access to the news with most citizens in western democracies having access at their fingertips. This study examines how youth consume news online highlighting news consumption through social networking sites and other online sources. This study uses two-wave longitudinal survey data of young people to examine how online news affects civic awareness and engagement in civic and political life. The findings suggest that online news will have minimal direct effect on civic and political engagement. Instead, the effects of online news are indirect. Online news increases civic awareness, which indirectly affects engagement. The indirect effects of online news are more pronounced for voting and boycotting, compared with signing petitions. Online news may be able to address participation inequalities between younger and older citizens by building civic awareness among youth and indirectly affecting participation in civic and political life.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Online news
  • civic participation
  • political engagement
  • social networking sites
  • youth

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Authors

  • Shelley Boulianne

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