Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Emerging Patterns of News Media Use across Multiple Platforms and Their Political Implications in South Korea
by Kim, Su Jung, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2011, 188; 3456674
Abstract (Summary)

The abundant choices offered by digital media have raised concerns that news consumption might polarize the public into people who either seek out or avoid the news. Some have further warned against the ideological polarization of the public, facilitated by selective exposure to partisan news media outlets. Despite a growing body of research involving these phenomena, there is little research that has analyzed the process of audience fragmentation and polarization over a period of years, or that has considered media use patterns across multiple platforms in a contemporary media environment. Moreover, there is a dearth of research in this area conducted in non-Western national contexts.

This study first assesses TV news consumption patterns by analyzing respondent-level peoplemeter data from 2001 to 2007, a period of rapid growth in Korean cable television. Then, it further investigates cross-platform media use patterns in the current Korean media environment, with a particular focus on polarization of news consumption driven by content preferences and political ideology. This study uses a unique dataset that collected information on media use and political variables from a survey conducted on a television peoplemeter panel. The use of a single-source dataset provides an opportunity to precisely examine the political implications of cross-platform media use behavior.

The results indicate that polarization in TV news viewing was already established at an early stage of cable penetration, and has changed little over the seven-year period. However, the investigation of cross-platform media consumption in the contemporary media environment reveals that Korean media users form media repertoires to cope with the abundance of choices. Most people consume a relatively good amount of news from one or more new media outlets, which suggests a less daunting picture of the division between news seekers and avoiders. This study found the polarizing effect of content preferences on total news consumption and political participation as well as evidence of selective exposure to partisan news media, but the degree of polarization is not as prevalent as it is in the U.S. where there is a more diversified and proliferated media market and a clearer division of conservative and liberal news media outlets.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Webster, James G.
Commitee: Ettema, James S., Hargittai, Eszter
School: Northwestern University
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian Studies, Mass communications
Keywords: Audience fragmentation, Audience polarization, Content preferences, Media market, Media use, News consumption, Political implications, Selective exposure, South Korea
Publication Number: 3456674
ISBN: 978-1-124-66263-3
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