- The impact of media coverage and motivation on performance-relevant information
- Political Communication
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Representative democracy requires that citizens know the facts about political performance, and if more such facts are available in the media, citizens have more opportunity to acquire them. In view of increasing media choice, such an opportunity may vary from one individual media environment to another. However, it remains unclear how differences in information acquisition correspond with differences in the information available specifically in those sources that citizens choose to use on a routine basis. Drawing on data from a two-wave panel survey and media content analysis, this article examines if greater availability of performance-relevant information in the media facilitates acquisition of such information among those reliant on these media. It also examines when and how strongly this effect differs for people with different levels of learning motivation. Using a multilevel model, we find that citizens are more likely to learn facts about political performance when their preferred sources offer a greater quantity of performance-relevant information. We also find that motivation moderates the influence of availability, such that strongly motivated individuals gain comparatively the most from a greater supply of information. The implications of our findings for representative democracy are considered.
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