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Political Socialization in a Media-Saturated World


Edited By Esther Thorson, Mitchell S. McKinney and Dhavan Shah

The studies that comprise Political Socialization in a Media Saturated World synthesize, question, and update our knowledge of political socialization that has accumulated over the past 40 years of related research. The scholarship advances innovative theoretical perspectives and develops new models of the socialization process that revolve around the key social structures of family, media, peers, and school. The Hierarchy Model of Political Socialization, in particular, provides a comprehensive conceptual framework for organizing and analyzing youth responses to the political. With research that spans multiple election cycles across nearly a decade, and data drawn from a national panel study that allows for cross-generational comparison, the findings and models of political socialization presented provide the most comprehensive and in-depth examination of youth political socialization that exists to date. This book provides a foundation and research agenda for examining the Millennial generation in the coming years as these citizens mature to adults and become the driving force of society and our polity.
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Chapter Twenty-Two: The Impact of News “Voice” on Adolescent Political Efficacy


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The Impact OF News “Voice” ON Adolescent Political Efficacy


This study focuses on the impact of the style in which news is communicated, a dimension that we call “voice.” We suggest voice is critically important to the process by which young teens acquired political knowledge and exhibited political efficacy in the 2008 presidential election. To provide a rationale for this study, we integrate a number of literature areas under the explanatory context of the Media Choice Model (Thorson & Duffy, 2006), an extensive elaboration of the uses and gratifications approach. Although the central focus of the model is on how the impact of media use is mediated through people’s motivations for using media, it also posits that “voice” is a crucial filter for these processes. As background, we look at what is known about the following influences on political socialization: exposure to television, print, and Internet news, and whether that information occurs in the context of classic news “authoritative” voice; “opinionated” voice like that in blogs or opinionated news like the Fox News Channel; or directly from the politicians themselves, a voice we call “direct to the consumer,” a phrase borrowed from the advertising literature. We also examine what is known about the relationship between political knowledge and efficacy.


Self-Efficacy and Media Use

The notion of self-efficacy, defined as the...

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