Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Hayg Oshagan

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between online news media use, selectivity in media content, and political tolerance. Tolerance develops as result of exposure to a diversity of ideas and perspectives, which the media provide. Online news use encourages and requires users to selectively expose and navigate through information based on personal choice. Online news permits individuals to choose information based on personal opinion and preference in ways traditional forms of mainstream media do not allow. Therefore, it was expected that online news use and selectivity in media content would negatively relate to tolerance.

A total of 305 participants were surveyed from a large urban university. Based on the data, greater media use was significantly related to higher tolerance. Additionally, online news use was significantly related to less tolerance compared to television and newspaper use. Greater selectivity in media content was significantly related to lower tolerance, and online news media use was significantly more selective in content than newspapers, but similar to selectivity in television. However, heavy media use under the condition of selectivity was not significantly related to lower tolerance. Implications for the study of the relationship between online news use, selectivity, and political tolerance is discussed.

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