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The Widening Information Gap between High and Low Education Groups: Knowledge Acquisition from Online vs. Print News

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dc.contributor.advisor Grabe, Maria E en_US
dc.contributor.author Yang, JungAe en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2010-06-08T17:18:46Z
dc.date.available 2027-02-08T18:18:46Z
dc.date.available 2012-04-18T18:33:35Z
dc.date.issued 2010-06-08T17:18:46Z
dc.date.submitted 2008 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2022/8446
dc.description Thesis (Ph.D.) - Indiana University, Mass Communications/Telecommunications, 2008 en_US
dc.description.abstract The primary purpose of this study is to empirically investigate the potentially widening gap in information acquisition across different educational groups, related to traditional print versus online news formats. Newspaper readership is declining and simultaneously the number of online news users is growing. In democratic societies the ability of new media formats to deliver cognitively accessible information to all citizens is indeed a pressing issue. This dissertation adopted the strengths of both survey and experimental traditions of knowledge gap research. Specifically, this study follows in the survey research tradition by emphasizing social structural aspects of the knowledge gap phenomenon. At the same time, this research used controlled experimental procedures and an assortment of memory measures to rigorously investigate the formation of knowledge gaps. The experimental procedure also allowed for focus on a much neglected dimension of knowledge gain, namely news exposure preferences (public affairs vs. entertainment) of citizens. To this effect, news exposure was examined using a behavioral measure, which is more rigorous than the heavily relied on self-report measure. The findings show strong support of the existence of knowledge gaps. First, participants in the higher education group (some postgraduate education) outperformed the lower education group (no more than a high school education) in terms of information gain, particularly for public affairs information, despite the similar news exposure pattern across the two education groups. The strong education effect on public affairs knowledge acquisition is therefore robust beyond the influence of news exposure levels. Second, newspaper readers exposed themselves to more public affairs news than online news users and therefore acquired more public affairs information than online news users. Third--and most important and alarming--comprehending public affairs news stories varied most prominently between the high and the low education groups in the online news condition. As such, the findings of this dissertation produced evidence that supports the main thesis of a widening information gap between high and low education groups, driven more so by new media than traditional print media use. In conclusion, emerging media are likely to exacerbate the existing information gaps among citizens with different socio-structural backgrounds. en_US
dc.language.iso EN en_US
dc.publisher [Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University en_US
dc.subject new media en_US
dc.subject knowledge gap en_US
dc.subject exposure preferences en_US
dc.subject media comparisons en_US
dc.subject learning from media en_US
dc.subject digital divide en_US
dc.subject online news
dc.subject traditional media
dc.subject online journalism
dc.subject news exposure
dc.subject information processing
dc.subject comprehension of news
dc.subject.classification Mass Communications en_US
dc.title The Widening Information Gap between High and Low Education Groups: Knowledge Acquisition from Online vs. Print News en_US
dc.type Doctoral Dissertation en_US


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