Clearing the Smog? Examining the Relationship Between Traditional Media Versus Nontraditional Internet-Based Media and Risk Information Seeking in China

Yanni Ma, Jay Hmielowski, Wenjie Yan


Studies have examined the risk information seeking and processing (RISP) model across a range of contexts. However, few studies have examined media use as a predictor variable in the model or situations in which media outlets could provide people with different information on the same topic. This article examines the relationship between traditional and nontraditional Internet-based media in China and important variables (i.e., risk perceptions and emotions) related to the RISP model. With two rounds of cross-sectional survey data, our results show that traditional sources are associated with lower concern, ultimately translating into decreased negative emotions and lower intentions to seek out information, whereas the results show the opposite pattern for nontraditional online communication. Our findings extend the RISP model by connecting media use to information seeking, showing that the use of different media outlets could lead to different information-seeking tendencies through important intervening variables.


media use, RISP model, risk perception, negative affect, information seeking

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