News Media Consumption and Political Behavior in Latin America

Ryan Salzman

Abstract


News media are an important factor in any democratic society. Research focused on developed democracies has paved the way for analysis in the context of less well-developed democracies. The project endeavors to continue that investigation into whether and how news media consumption affects democratic behavior among individuals in a region comprised of developing democracies: Latin America. Employing rich survey data available from the 2008 Latin American Public Opinion Project, traditional analyses are used to test one of the most basic questions for political communication researchers: Does news media consumption motivate or depress political participation? The results indicate that, on average, news media mobilize political participation, albeit to different degrees per medium and participation type. This seems to happen because those media socialize Latin Americans to value political participation.

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