Media Platforms and Political Learning: The Democratic Challenge of News Consumption on Computers and Mobile Devices
During the last decades, an important shift in media use is that people increasingly follow the news by using digital and portable media, while news consumption via traditional, offline media is decreasing. A key question is how this change influences the extent to which people seek out and learn about politics from the news media. Using a large two-wave panel survey (N = 2,828) with detailed measures of political learning and consumption of the same news outlets on different media platforms, the study shows that while political interest has a positive impact on news consumption across all platforms, people mainly learn about current political affairs from using traditional, offline platforms. In contrast, there are no general learning effects from using news media on computers and mobile devices. The study thereby demonstrates how the increasing importance of newer, digital media platforms for news consumption challenges the ideal of a broadly informed citizenry.