Media scepticism, media diets and media landscapes: A consideration of US versus Australian political information environments
Moody, Kim E. (2009) Media scepticism, media diets and media landscapes: A consideration of US versus Australian political information environments. In Flew, Terry (Ed.) Proceedings of Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2009, Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.
The range of political information sources available to modern Australians is greater and more varied today than at any point in the nation’s history, incorporating print, broadcast, Internet, mainstream and non-mainstream media. In such a competitive media environment, the factors which influence the selection of some information sources above others are of interest to political agents, media institutions and communications researchers alike.
A key factor in information source selection is credibility. At the same time that the range of political information sources is increasing rapidly, due to the development of new information and communication technologies, audience research suggests that trust in mainstream media organisations in many countries is declining. So if people distrust the mainstream media, but have a vast array of alternative political information sources available to them, what do their personal media consumption patterns look like? How can we analyse such media consumption patterns in a meaningful way?
In this paper I will briefly map the development of media credibility research in the US and Australia, leading to a discussion of one of the most recent media credibility constructs to be shown to influence political information consumption, media scepticism. Looking at the consequences of media scepticism, I will then consider the associated media consumption construct, media diet, and evaluate its usefulness in an Australian, as opposed to US, context. Finally, I will suggest alternative conceptualisations of media diets which may be more suited to Australian political communications research.
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